Most people live in fear of head lice, but no one dreads it more than parents, guardians, teachers and school nurses. The last thing a parent wants is a call from their kid’s school saying “your child has head lice.”
“While a head lice infestation is not dangerous, it is a nuisance and can cause significant social distress,” Krista Lauer, medical director for Lice Clinics of America, says. “Check your children when the dreaded note comes home from school and call other parents to be sure they do the same.”
“Live lice, being the size of a sesame seed, and fast moving, are difficult to see. The eggs, often referred to as nits, are more easily identified,” Lauer says. “They are tiny beige or tan specks that are firmly glued to the shaft of a hair near the scalp. They are very difficult to remove. The hatched egg shells are white and easier to see.”
It’s important to work in your community to destigmatize lice; don’t speak negatively about or ostracize a child or family that has it, Lauer says. This could have just as easily been you. “Working together to keep each other informed about lice in your communities is the best prevention,” she adds.
Use these simple tips to help prevent lice exposure and manage the infestation if you or a loved one is exposed.