13 August 2010

Hair Bugs!

"Other cultures do not see lice as a problem, and don't understand why we've asked them to get rid of it. Some families have their own remedies from their countries, which never seem to work. Can you tell this battle has just exhausted us? We spend more time communicating to parents about lice than about their children's reading."

What would you say to this public school teacher?

Apparently, schools shouldn't be bothering with the "check for lice and send kids home" thing so much any more.  I guess that if your child is assigned a seat next to another kid with bugs and ickiness, it's just your tough.  Further, educators are celebrating this recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics because (yayy!) that means they can get back to their real job, which is teaching.

Um.  Am I the only one who has a problem with this?

Even in the old days when Patrick was in kindergarten,  the school would not tell you which kids had lice. I just happened to be able to be the involved parent and notice that (Name) was not in school for four days following the "a student in your child's class..." note that was sent home.  This girl sat next to Patrick!  Yuck.

I was grossed out.  It was the first day of KINDERGARTEN, folks.  What kind of trashy family sends their kid to school with head lice SO BAD that a rookie teacher would notice it on the first day of kindergarten??  I knew where this family lived, and they weren't in the homeless shelter or any sort of extreme situation like that.  They drove nice cars and lived in a nicer house than mine!  They just lived with bugs while they wore designer clothes??!  What is up with that?

The school can't control these people and what they do at home, but they SHOULD forbid them from walking in and sharing hairbrushes with all the other students.  They SHOULD bother to check for head lice occasionally, at least in the younger grades when kids are huggy and seated close together.   And if you've been sent home with the bugs, the school shouldn't let you back in until you are bug (and egg!) free.   Have to miss work to deal with this?  Tough nits.  There is no excuse for sending your kids to school to infect mine.  I know YOU wouldn't appreciate it if the situation were reversed.

And you know what?  I've never had lice, and neither have my children.  But that's just fortune and chance.  There is no shame in HAVING lice, just in KEEPING them.  We all know that little girl could have passed on those bugs to Patrick in a matter of seconds. I feel the same way about roaches.  Anyone can get roaches, and sometimes they are hard to get rid of.  But there is NO reason just to live with the problem and do nothing.  Eew.

From the post:

"The worst thing about lice is that your head itches. That, and knowing that you have insects crawling around on your scalp. Other than that, it doesn't get any worse. Strep throat, on the other hand, can get really bad. So can influenza, measles, chicken pox and the mumps. And unlike those afflictions, lice aren't terribly contagious. They can be controlled with reasonable precautions."


"So all in all, there's no compelling medical reason to keep a kid home from school just because she has head lice. The cost of a missed day of school is more than the benefit of a day of quarantine."

Oh, realllly?  The benefit of a day of quarantine is for the UNINFECTED children, not the kid with the nits.  Or the pink eye.  Or the flu.  Or whatever.  I keep my children home when they are sick or buggy.  So should you.

10 comments:

  1. Oh. Em. Gee.

    That. Is. Revolting.

    I feel itchy just reading about it.

    Plus also - REALLY, kids just CAN'T miss a few days of KINDERGARTEN so they can deal with this? What - are they going to miss the day the color Blue is covered and just be behind the rest of their lives?

    Is the vomit-inducing Teachers-Are-Deities attitude behind this, or is it due to parents abdicating their responsibilities between the hours of 8 and 3?

    Ick.

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  2. I keep my kids home from church and other optional events when they're sick. School has been somewhat trickier, but I've basically stuck to my guns.

    And I agree with you--having head lice should remain an instant ticket home. Itchy scalps produce infections and in kids with compromised immune systems--this can be a bad thing. However, it shouldn't mean more than a single day's absence with today's available options.

    I got lice the first time while working as a nanny. The family was well-to-do and very clean. I discovered both my own case and both the kids' while the mother was gone on a business trip and even treated it before the school sent home a note announcing that they'd seen a few cases of it. I got them a second time many years later, after being in charge of a Christmas program that required a large group of children wear head costumes, etc. Three of the boys got them too. It took two rounds of treatment to get rid of all of them.

    Life is messy. Put enough of the human population in one place and this kind of thing is going to become an issue sooner or later.

    PS. Lice like clean hair and spread more easily than they do in oily dirty hair.

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  3. can i just say YUCK!...that is so gross...thankfully i have never had lice and my kids havent either! i do know that kids get sent home due to lice from schools, and i think its a shame that they are now saying it is OK for that infected kid to be in a class with kids who arent sick yet...that would be like saying sure son you have the flu, poops, and throwing up...however its ok for you to go on and infect all the kids in class....COME ON! that is so messed up! and the parents are old enough to know better! shame on them also!

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  4. uMMM... can the infected child be forced to wear a shower cap so they can't share? Probably not... that would be singling out.

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  5. The people who live with lice & do nothing infuriate me. The first time we got them Liddy had hair down to her waist. You can imagine, I'm sure, what a nightmare that was to deal with! Easiest solution, Hair conditioner ~ or oliveoil. Both work a treat. Smother the child's scalp & leave it overnight, wash it out the next morning. Comb out the eggs easily. The nits are dead. Cheaper & less of a health risk than medicated stuff.

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  6. Truthfully, having done foster and respite care, I don't have a problem with the child staying in school as long as the school provides separate cubicles for clothes/hats AND continues to communicate infestations to the parents of the other students.

    My first foster child's half sister had lice, frequently. I really didn't have a choice about her visiting with her family; visits were court ordered. So, I talked to my child and let her know not to use anyone else's combs or brushes, hats or hair accessories. And, she slept with a sleep cap on. When she returned home, we washed all her clothes immediately, even if she swore she had not worn them. Then I vacuumed out her suitcase. She bathed and I checked her head for nits as I combed her out. If I saw any sign of lice, we went to the sink and I shampooed her hair with RID and combed her section by section with a metal nit comb. She never got a scalp infection from itching and she never missed a day of school.

    I took all these precautions because, EW! The thought of bugs crawling in her (or my) scalp is just gross. But, even coming out of a home with a really bad lice problem, a home where the mother was unable or unwilling to eradicate the problem, I can count on one hand the number of time we had to get out the RID because I saw lice, nits or my child complained of itching. And, that child lived with me almost 2-years and visited with her family every other weekend.

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  7. I'm starting to wonder if The American Academy of Pediatrics should pack it in and ride off into the sunset. In addition to this bit of foolishness, they were also a bit off on their suggestion regarding female genital mutilation. This is a big enough issue though, that they were hounded until they rethought the issue.
    http://www.newsrealblog.com/2010/05/27/success-american-academy-of-pediatrics-shamed-into-reversal-of-female-genital-mutilation-policy/

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  8. As a licensed hairdresser, I am disgusted. If we come into contact with anyone that has live bugs, eggs, etc on their person, we have to immediately remove them from the salon, and refer them to a pharmacy/doctor. We then must Barbicide everything they came into contact with, and discard combs, capes, towels, etc., that touched them.

    If a salon takes these measures to prevent the spread of lice, a school should do the same. Children are constantly bumping into eachother, hugging, sharing hats, jackets, and coming into contact with others. Not to mention, the 'loaner' closet of outdoor wear for kids that have lost or forgotten their own.

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  9. Public schools . . . the great equalizer . . .

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  10. IKKK IKKK IKKK.. touch wood .... we havn't had hair bugs for years and years!
    We did go through a period about 20 years ago where all the kids got them at school... IKKK.. my head is itchy just thinking about it.

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