Did you read about the family that got kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight because the attendant said their daughter had head lice? That must have been a nightmare.
The father of that Chicago family said when they were waiting to board their flight to Disneyland in Chicago, his wife spotted some dry skin in one of their daughter's hair. He said his wife removed the skin from the six-year-old's head, but about 30 minutes later a Southwest employee approached them to say several fellow passengers had raised concerns that she had lice. He said his daughter didn't have lice and was hysterical because she thinks it was her fault that they are not going to Disneyland.
I would have been embarrassed and probably furious too but, then, I can understand the attendant’s dilemma because it can be had to tell the difference between head lice nits or eggs and dandruff unless you have experience. I have had experience dealing with head lice so I can now tell the difference between lice nits and dandruff and regularly check all my children’s hair and scalp for lice or nits (lice eggs). If you want to check for lice nits, you must know what they look like if you don’t see any live bugs. What do lice eggs look like? And most important, what do lice eggs or nits look like vs dandruff? How can you tell the difference?
When you look at your kid’s head and you see some white or pale yellow flecks the size of a sesame seed, can you tell if are they nits or just dandruff or other hair debris? The main difference between head lice nits and dandruff is that the lice eggs are glued to the hair shaft. Nits are firmly attached to the hair with a glue-like substance. They are not easily removed. Dandruff on the other hand can easily be brush off the hair or scalp. This photos illustrates what a lice eggs (or nits) look like in the hair.
Even when you don’t see live bugs, the presence of lice eggs or nits in someone’s hair is certainly concerning. Some schools have a “no-nit” policy meaning that a student will be sent home from school if they just have nits. I think it’s a good policy but, unfortunately many schools now allow kids with lice nits to remain in school where other children can be exposed to the live lice that may hatch from nits that are allowed in the classrooms. This can easily happen when little kids’ hats and jackets are piled together in shared cubbies or when kids engage in close contact play. It doesn’t take a long time for lice to spread.
I am a vocal advocate for regular, professional head lice checks at my kids’ school because not all teachers or parents can tell the difference between head lice nits and dandruff. The Lice Treatment Center’s School Lice Insurance lice check programs are great way to proactively help prevent lice outbreaks in schools by conducting regularly scheduled professional head checks for students and faculties.
If you haven’t had to deal with head lice personally, be grateful. Even if your school does conduct periodic lice checks, parents should learn deal what head lice nits look like and check daily at home so they can arrange lice removal treatments quickly.
Make sure to get your Nit Lice Comb Here