Should You tell the School Your Kids Have Lice?

Anyone who has experienced a case of the dreadful head lice understands why the word sends chills down the spines of parents. And it should. This is because lice can be an uphill battle, especially for the busy parent. Treatment cannot only be an unpleasant process, but a time consuming one as well. The CDC has estimated that for children between 3 and 12 there are over 10 million cases of head-lice in the U.S each year. Naturally, the subject can be a bit unsettling, and the condition does have a strong stigma, encouraging parents to keep quiet. While good for lice, this stigma is no good for the rest of us. And yes, this includes having a word with the school. Here’s why:
1. Talk – We parents can help give each other a chance against lice if we work together to remove the stigma from this increasingly common condition. This can start with simply talking about lice, at least more so than we currently care to do. When lice outbreaks out at a school, information has proven key to preventing the spread. In one instance, a mom shared her lice story on our school’s listery. This helped facilitate awareness amongst other parents. Strangely enough, fewer cases were reported for the remainder of the year.
2. If your child has lice right now – The frustration is understood. However, we also ask you to be pro active and do the following: see a doctor and then speak freely. Communicate with your child about how anyone can get lice and that it has nothing to do with their cleanliness. Let your friends know so that they can get their children checked out. This will prevent an infestation that may leave your kid fighting lice again down the line.
3. To Schools – If there is a child attending your school that does have lice, please tell us. If your school doesn’t notify parents until the child has reached some sort of ‘threshold’, insist on notifying parents more promptly. The reality is that this may just prevent future cases. It’s best to be educated and aware of the condition so that less parents have to deal with a full blown case.
4. For those parent who get the phone call – When the school notifies you of your child’s case, be positive and say thank you. Now you have a chance at beating this pest. While there are many reasons to want to moan, you knowing will lead to both prevention of further cases and the curing of your child’s pain. If your child is a girl, have them wear long hair pulled back. Immediate treatment in the form of comb-outs and special shampoos can prevent cases from becoming more serious.
5. What simply doesn’t work anymore – If your attitude towards lice is advocating some form of secrecy surround an outbreak or isolated incidence of lice, there must be a more frequent and open line of communication established. The less we speak about lice, the chances of ridding ourselves of a really obnoxious bug decreases further and further.