Chances are that one day in the not-too-distant future, you could get an email from your children's school informing you that there is going to be a school-wide lice check. This is good news. It means that your school administration or PTSA cares enough to make sure that there will not be a lice outbreak at the school or possibly that there was one but going forward they want to help avoid another infestation!
Recently, Elisa Owen, LTC's certified professional lice diagnostician and technician spoke to a New York area PTSA about the importance of having parents and teachers explain in advance what a lice check means.
Elisa told the parents and school staff that talking to kids in ahead of time about what to expect during a school check will make it easier and more successful for parents, kids, their teachers, administrators...and the technicians themselves.
“Children”, she said, “should be assured that lice checks don't hurt and will only take a few minutes. Explain that a technician will most likely run a long Q-tip through the hair to look for bugs and their eggs. Therefore, parents should make every effort to have their child's hair washed the night before the lice check and combed or brushed through thoroughly the day of the check. Not being able to get the stick through the hair takes extra time and makes it much harder to search for bugs and nits."
She explained further that it’s very important to describe what will happen during the check session to allay fears. If a child is fearful or reluctant to be touched by strangers, parents should explain that the check is easy and won’t take long. It’s also okay for a student to ask to go last or wants to go first. Some kids even need to hold hands with a friend or want to sit on a teacher's lap, etc. And if a student is afraid of the magnifying lamps used to inspect the hair, he/she can be checked under a strong ceiling light. That’s okay too! Technicians are trained to be patient and flexible.
If a school's policy is to send kids home if they have lice, parents should share this information with their children so they will be prepared if they are told they have lice. Parents and teachers should tell kids in advance that having lice it is nothing to be ashamed of. It does not mean that they are dirty. In fact, lice prefer clean hair over dirty hair. Kids should know that lice don't carry diseases and they don't make you sick.
“In summary”, Elisa said, “let the the kids know that although being treated for lice is a nuisance and can be time consuming it doesn't hurt and is nothing to be afraid of. And remember, a parent’s attitude sets the mood. So, don’t freak out if your child does have lice. Nobody gets them on purpose, and nobody spreads lice on purpose (even that neighbor who had the sleepover and should have known better). It’s also easily treated by Lice Treatment Center® either in the privacy of a family’s home or at a Lice Treatment Center® location by calling 1-888 LICE AWAY/1-888- 542-3292.”