Head lice are a nuisance for parents. Often parents panic, become frustrated when treating head lice multiple times and blame the school. In addition to being icky, treatment can be difficult, time consuming and tedious. Parents have been known to be very vocal about head lice out breaks.
Head Lice and School Policies
In the Kansas City area, most schools allow kids to stay in school with head lice or nits in the hair. While it seems practical for kids to be excluded from school with any signs of head lice to keep the bugs from spreading among the kids, it can do more harm than good. In the United States, children miss 12–24 million school days annually due to head lice and on average parents lose $2,700 in lost wages, childcare costs, and expenses for treatment. Schools also miss out on funding because students aren’t in school. Most importantly, head lice and no-nit policies create a stigma that can follow kids even after their head lice is gone.
Most schools in Kansas City, follow common protocols recommended by the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics. At school, the student is sent to the nurse to verify they have head lice. The parents are then notified and the child must be treated before returning to school. Keeping a child out of school for head lice doesn’t really do any good. Most kids with head lice have it a couple weeks before symptoms like itching appears, so they have been in the class room with these kids all along. Sending a child home with head lice does not actually eliminate the lice from the school or classroom. There is evidence that at any given time 1 to 10 percent of students in elementary school will have head lice. Not to mention parents, siblings and any close contacts outside of school might have head lice too. So, in fact, there is never a lice free zone.
Check often and Treat Early
The best way to avoid a hassle with head lice is to check often and treat early. Heartland Healthy Head recommends checking once a week for head lice. The earlier you find lice the easier it is to treat. Another way to avoid head lice is to keep hair tied back to lessens the possibility of head to head contact with others who may have lice.
Several treatment options are available for head lice including over the counter, prescriptions and home remedies. Heartland Healthy Heads is Kansas City’s exclusive provider of the Airalle’ treatment. Airalle’ is a FDA cleared medical device that works to dehydrate lice and eggs. Heartland Healthy Heads is happy to answer any questions regarding head lice and your school’s policy regarding head lice. Please call our 24-hour lice line at 913-730-6487. And we recommend you be nice about lice, anyone can get it.