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Don't blame the school

Don’t blame the school!

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.

Lice is a four-letter word – Stacey Hatton

BY STACEY HATTON
Special to The Star

September 14, 2015

I need to air my recent grievance to the public. Truly, I try to be the wine-glass-is-half-full type of gal, but I had a bomb dropped on me that brought out the cynic in my Syrah.

There is no way to sugarcoat my woe. In fact, I’m pretty sure I would prefer a root canal than wish this on my worst enemy. At least there are drugs that can help you get through mouth surgery. I’d rather have an endless laundry pile rather than experience this again.

Wait, I take that last one back. That’s partially what’s been causing my panic attacks.

Just rip off the Band-Aid and spit it out…

We had lice. Parasites. An infestation, if you will. The secret L-bomb!

Never before have I so vehemently practiced sterile technique, and I’ve worked in a children’s hospital.

If you’ve never experienced these little bugs from hell, you will. I hate to be the bearer of horrific news, but it’s inevitable. Either your kids or your grandkids will drop off these itchy nuggets while you’re watching reruns of “All in the Family” in your comfy living room recliner — and those suckers will latch onto your hair follicles and (shh!) re-pro-duce.

Oh, yes, I’m sure many of you were like me. “I’m too clean to get lice,” I boasted. “They are for peasants and Third World country dwellers!” Well, I’m here to tell you my clean head and various princess heads in the neighborhood have never itched so badly. This pest war has entered my suburb and I’m ticked!

After much personal research and costly visits to the “experts,” I am a professional louse executioner. I might even start up a lice removal version of those Stella and Dot jewelry or Jamberry home parties.

The reason why I’m jumping on my tea tree oil box is it is about time we stop shaming our kids. I want to break through today’s social barriers and go all “Norma Rae” about kicking the stigma to the curb. I’ll be yelling it from the rooftops, from church steps and various factory union meetings — whatever it takes to get my message out.

Lice is not a four-letter word! (Waits for applause.)

OK, maybe it is, but shouldn’t we be able to discuss infestation outside of school nurse room curtains and dark alleyways? What’s so shameful about having bugs taking residence on your noggin? I agree it’s gross, but shaming others is unjust. If you are brave enough to discuss it with friends, you will find out that about every house in your ZIP code has experienced the insanity that comes with the territory.

Especially now that there are teenaged-mutant lice running rampant in many states. The stories are plastered across all media. These buggers are resistant to over-the-counter drugs. They have built up such resistance to old-school treatment, that everyone’s going to have them. It’s the new fad.

“Did you hear? Becky’s family has lice.”

“No! I’m so jealous! You know that lice is the new black stink bug.”

“Yes, it’s all over Facebook!”

Maybe lice infestation isn’t pleasurable. Unless you have some twisted love affair with washing every fabric item in your house, vacuuming daily for three weeks, or twice a day picking nits out of your loved one’s tresses.

But can’t we give lice a break? Nits happen. Deal with it, stop the blaming and quit laughing at the downtrodden.

And remember, paybacks are an itch.

This article originally appeared in the Kansas City Star.

 

 

Stacey Hatton is a New York Times best-selling author, blogger, mother and head slapper. She can be reached at LaughingWithKids@yahoo.com or her blog, LaughingWithKids.com.