Texas is among several states who have updated their views on “no nit” policies in public school districts. For decades this policy has put children in embarrassing positions in front of their peers, removed them from the classroom for sometimes weeks at a time, and can be quite tricky to diagnose as nits, lice eggs, are often incredibly difficult to recognize.
Recently the media brought this to light as a fifth grade Florida student was kicked out of school on November 9, 2017 for a case of head lice. Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Duvall County Florida dismissed Maddie Hunter and then continued to refuse her to re-enter the classroom for over three weeks. Every morning her mother would drop her off at school, have her scalp rechecked for nits, and she would be turned away as one or two nits were discovered.
“I really need help with reading,” Maddie told Fox 30 News. “I’ve been struggling in reading and I can’t do that because of missing so much school.” Her situation not only took her out of the classroom for three weeks but she missed out on drama and choir rehearsals as well.
Maddie’s head had been treated multiple times by several over the counter shampoos, and no live lice were present. “They just said it’s a school board policy,” Maddie’s mother recounted to Fox 30 News. “Their hands are tied, they can’t do anything.”
Which bids the question? Is this indeed the best way to handle a case of head lice? If you ask the Texas Department of State Health Services it is not. Their website states, “According to Texas law your child will be sent home from school if live lice are found in their hair. However, they won’t be sent home, if only nits are found. The law also states that your child is allowed to return to school after one medicated shampoo or lotion treatment has been given. When your child returns to school, a head check is not required by law and there is no requirement to report head lice cases to officials.”
However, individual Texas school districts still have the ultimate power to decide. State officials make it clear, “Each school district can make their rules tougher if they choose. And many do. Talk to the school nurse or someone else in charge, to find out what your child’s school rules are.”
As Texas districts exam the facts it would be helpful to note that both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of School Nurses advocate that “no-nit” policies should be reevaluated and changed. They agree head lice is a social issue not a health threat. “No nit” policies place an unequal amount of emphasis on head lice management than on real health concerns which should be higher priority. Research shows that the cost of sending nurses through entire school systems to do individual head lice checks is not an effective tool in fighting off infection. Students who miss too much school due to nits are also missing out on valuable learning time when the nits in their hair, which may already be hatched and are really empty shells, pose little or no risk to other students.
Head lice checks are offered through Lice Clinics of America. Diagnosis is often the most difficult part of catching the problem early on. Experts at our clinics can help you understand the warning signs and symptoms of head lice.
When white flakes or specks are found on a head of hair it can be difficult to decipher what you are dealing with. Head lice may be the initial fear that runs through your mind. Rightfully so, as head lice is a highly contagious parasite that is passed through head to head contact onto roughly 6-12 million children per year in the United States. Before you jump to the head lice conclusion, let us examine the differences between a head lice infestation and a common case of dandruff.
What to Look For:
Dandruff is an actual piece of dead, flaky skin. White in color, dandruff falls off in clumps and can linger on shoulders, necks or the back of its sufferer. It is clearly visible to the human eye, usually to the trepidation of those that carry it.
Head lice are insects that feed off of human blood. They are nocturnal creatures so lice are much more active at night. Because they avoid direct light they can be extremely difficult to spot. When searching through hair strands for evidence of lice look specifically for any brown insects smaller than a sesame seed. If you do happen to find a louse or two it is clear you have a problem. Be aware, just because you don’t see a louse doesn’t mean you don’t have lice. Nits, or lice eggs, are the most common visible symptom of lice. Yellow in color, eggs are laid at the very base of the scalp. They are stuck to hair strands with a tacky substance that makes them much more difficult to remove than a flake of dandruff. Using a fine tooth comb to sift through hair is one recommended approach. The CDC also suggests the use of a small magnifying glass to help you inspect the scalp for red irritation or live lice.
Dandruff is usually no more than itchiness, dry skin, and flakes. A severe case can sometimes be the result of a worse condition such as eczema or psoriasis. If you are experiencing large painful patches of dry skin that have a cracked, blotchy rash consult a dermatologist or healthcare professional. Normal dandruff is the result of overactive skin reproduction. As a normal person loses skin cells they are reproduced every four weeks. Dandruff sufferers can have skin cells that are regenerating four times that fast. This creates mounds of dead, dry skin that fall off much more often than normal leaving traces all over hair strands and clothing. Dandruff can also be caused by excessive use of hair products. Thoroughly clean and rinse hair to ensure that you are not dealing with product residue.
Head Lice will typically start causing symptoms three to four weeks after the initial contact. Lice eggs need ten to fourteen days to hatch and start living on the scalp. Traces of fecal matter and saliva from adult lice can cause skin reactions such as swelling and itching. Red bumps on the skin can also be an indication of bite marks. Eggs that are attached to hair strands about ¼ of an inch from the base of the head specify that lice eggs have already hatched. They will be white in color and easily peeled off. As more lice hatch they will obviously be easier to spot on the scalp as their numbers grow. Activity will increase at night, making it more difficult to sleep. Itchiness and irritation can be enough to interrupt sleep.
Dandruff is easily treated with over the counter medicated shampoos. Nearly half of adults will experience dandruff at some point in their life. It is a common problem that you can usually get a handle on after a few weeks of consistent treatment. Conditioning the scalp to provide moisture is also recommended. Protect your head from the elements with proper coats and headgear.
Head Lice is most easily eliminated using the newest Airelle heat technology. One short visit to the Lice Clinics of America will have you on your way to being lice free. We also sell over the counter products that can be effective and used in your home. Depending on your budget and time needs, our trained personnel will walk you through the best options for your specific situation.
Parents who have experienced a lice outbreak in their homes know, lice definitely have an impact on your child’s sleep. Lice are considered nocturnal creatures. They live off of human blood. During the evening hours they become active, crawling around the scalp of their victim searching for places to burrow, lay eggs and eat. Their saliva, fecal matter, and biting creates irritation and itching on the scalp. Imagine the sensation of insects crawling on your head, piercing your scalp and making a home on your head. Not the most sleep provoking scenario, to say the least. After your family is treated and lice free, here are some simple suggestions to getting back into a healthy bedtime pattern.
Pick an appropriate bedtime and stick to it. The National Sleep Foundation puts out guidelines for sleep required by age. Infants 0-2 years of age need the most sleep with a full 12 hours every night and at least a 2-hour nap during the day. Children 3-6 years also need a full 12 hours of sleep at night, without the daytime nap. When children reach ages 7-12 it is recommended they get 10-11 hours of sleep per night. Teenagers between the ages of 13-18 are still growing and developing, which means they still need at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Choose a bedtime that will help children get the recommended allotment of sleep for their age. Start your daily bedtime routine with plenty of time before they should be asleep. This helps to avoid feelings of scurrying around creating anxiety to meet the bedtime deadline. Avoid late nights that interrupt the pattern and try to keep the schedule as consistent as possible.
Bathe every night to create a routine. A warm, relaxing bath goes a long way in helping children unwind and start to feel ready for sleep. Bubbles with scented soap or bath oils are a good idea to create a serene environment. Some scents promote feelings of relaxation and sleepiness. These include jasmine, vanilla, lavender and anything else that brings you comfort or makes you feel at home. Continue to prepare for bedtime by keeping an established routine. Brush your child’s teeth, comb their hair or perform any other bedtime preparation in the same order every night.
Let your child have a comforting object for night time use. Every child has a beloved stuffed animal or a favorite blanket that warms their heart and provides them solace. Allow them to snuggle up at bedtime with their object of choice as a reward for keeping up their routine.
Play soft music, sing a soothing song, or read a book together. Even older children enjoy reading with their parents. With so many wonderful books to choose from, make it a habit to read together every night. Once in awhile tell children a story from your childhood or make up fun stories together. Unwinding with a quiet lullaby, a sweet story or some peaceful music can help to put their minds at ease and get them in the mood to sleep soundly.
Spend one on one time, even if for a few moments. Taking a few minutes each night to talk to your child is a powerful tool. Offer an uplifting compliment, pay attention to something that may be worrying them, or tell them something encouraging you noticed they accomplished that day. Children crave positive attention. As parents, it’s your job to give it to them. These moments of loving attention will help children of all ages to feel wanted, needed and loved. They will rest easier knowing they are cared for and have a responsible adult watching over them.
Direct head to head contact with a person who is infested with lice is the most common way people get head lice. Because children are much more at risk, sometimes it is hard to understand how an adult could contract head lice. Here are some common ways that adults pass lice onto others.
Public Transportation. Without even thinking many people hop on buses, subways, trams or trains every day in this country. All of these forms of transportation move hundreds of thousands of people from one location to another. Where there are large groups of people, there are lice. Fabric lined seats are a common place for lice or nits, lice eggs, to hide. An infected person who rests their head on the seat back could leave a louse or two behind. Easily, nits can be knocked off of a scalp and fall into the fabric lining just waiting for the next head of hair to pick it up. Although not nearly as common as direct head to head contact, people can catch lice from fabric lined seating of any kind. Airplanes are also another example of this. Airplane rides are especially long at times and would give a louse plenty of time to make its way onto the seat back. Be cautious as you travel, and check your scalp often to ensure you aren’t picking up any unwanted hitchhikers.
Busy, Crowded Areas. As people bustle through crowded malls, airports, busy holiday shops, work hallways, amusement parks, movie theatres, school functions, sporting events, locker rooms, church meetings, or anywhere else that people gather in large numbers risks for lice can increase. These places can put people in scenarios where direct contact is unavoidable, even if for a short time. Although much more uncommon, it is possible for lice or eggs to be brushed off of someone and infect another person. Movie theater seats, pews, or public sitting areas are all places that fabric or leather lined furniture could be harboring lice or nits.
Gyms or the Locker Room. While we definitely advocate keeping a healthy exercise regime, a word of caution. Be careful not to share sports equipment. This is a common place for lice to be transmitted because many people leave things around like workout clothes, towels or headgear. Keep track of your own belongings and don’t share a locker.
Hair Salons or Barber Shop. Even if most professional hair stylists and barbers are good about sanitizing their equipment, it is inevitable that once in awhile things are overlooked. Make sure you choose a place you trust to get your haircut and styled. Ask them about their disinfection procedures.
At Home with your Children. The risk is always highest for parents with children at home. School-age children have a significantly higher chance of contracting lice than adults. They bring it home without even knowing they have caught it. Sometimes it can take weeks for the symptoms to present themselves. Thoroughly checking your child’s head often is the most sure- fire way to make sure your family is protected against lice.
Almost everyone deals with some type of irrational fear. There are phobias for almost any possible scenario. Know anyone who obsessively washes their hands? They may be suffering from Mysophobia, the fear of germs. What about the fear of public speaking, Glossophobia, which happens to be one of the most common phobias. It ranges in severity but researchers believe close to 75% of people have some level of it.
Then there is one fear that lately seems to be growing rampant. The fear of lice, Pediculophobia, is a real struggle for some people. Parents are sitting at a baseball game and overhear talk of super lice, lice that are immune to over the counter products and chemicals in pesticides that may have worked in the past. Genetically resistant mutated super lice! What parent wouldn’t be afraid? Sounds like a Marvel movie in the making.
Don’t let the rumors scare you. Lice Clinics of America are prepared to defend you and your family against even super lice with the revolutionary new technology we use. The most common treatment we offer is over 99%effective in killing lice and their eggs. A device developed at the University of Utah uses innovative technology that dehydrates and rids the scalp of eggs and lice by blowing heated air onto the head. The first step is to help you determine if you have a problem. If lice are detected we will inform you of the most effective lice removal methods you can find. Over the counter products will end up costing you double the money, double the time, and double the headache. Not to mention you can’t get the guarantee that we offer that the problem will be eliminated.
Face the fear. Here are the facts.
Learning the signs and symptoms of a lice infestation will help dramatically to know if you have a problem. Even with the national average of 6 to 12 million children infected with lice each year, watching for signs of lice can drastically reduce your chances of a full on infestation.
The first symptom to show will be eggs, or nits, in the hair. The eggs are laid near the base of the scalp and have a sticky like secretion that makes them glued onto the hair strands. If you see very small, tan or yellowish colored specks that do not move when the head is shaken or rustled it is likely you are dealing with nits. Our clinics offer lice head checks if you are unsure. It’s much easier to deal with the problem early on than waiting until you have more lice hatched and living in the affected area.
Scratching and itching on the head can actually take four to five weeks to even start. After eggs hatch and grow into adult lice they leave traces of fecal matter and saliva that irritate the skin causing red rashes that itch. Let’s also not forget that they feed on human blood. An infected person can receive hundreds of tiny, red bites all over their scalp that cause severe itching and irritation.
Still not ready to face your fear? The Lice Clinics of America is here to alleviate your concerns. Contact our offices and we can get you on your way to full peace of mind.
Life is so busy and stressful at times. The last thing parents want to deal with is a lice problem in their own home. With schedules that are difficult to keep up with, school projects, homework, business affairs and keeping the home life running smoothly, life can already seem overwhelming. So, how should we stop and react when our children end up contracting lice? There are many people who will offer advice and their perspective from their own experiences. Perhaps finding a friend or another parent you trust to talk it through would be a great place to start. Along with getting yourself some support here are some areas to think about.
The most realistic first reaction might be to become upset. Try to avoid that. There are solutions that will help you become lice free and prevention methods that can begin to use to keep the problem in check. Lice Clinics of America is your best resource for answers. Our consultants are trained and equipped with the fastest, most effective method of getting your family lice free. We use the Arielle technology that guarantees your are one hour and done. Just try to remember, you are the adult in the situation. Your child will look to you for answers, for support and reassurance. Parents actions typically are reflected by their children. Keeping your cool will help them to like you can handle it.
Let Them Know What is Happening
Before you come into the clinic you will have to explain to your child what is happening. Try to keep the conversation straightforward and your answers simple. Making the problem seem complex or tricky could overwhelm your child. Stressful situations can give children a reason to act out and cause even more stress or contention. Or some children shut down and try to deal with the stress by being quiet and hiding their feelings. Help them understand the situation by keeping your explanations simple. Watch their behavior for anything that is out of the norm or alarming. Just make sure they know they can talk to you and that you will listen.
Offer a Listening Ear
Give comfort and strength my showing you are aware of their feelings. Ask them questions and give them the chance to respond. Listen. Think of things to do to make them feel more at ease. Often open-ended questions are more likely to get a response. Asking specifics or about a detail of the circumstances might break the ice a little more and help your child feel like opening up. Be calm, not pushy. Show patience and care.
Make sure your child does understand. Sometimes, especially with lice, myths and over exaggerations can cause worry for young children. They don’t know what is real and what is blown out of proportion. After simply explaining lice and the process for removing it, allow your child the chance to ask you questions. Make them feel reassured that you are in control, willing to help and ready to handle it. The professional staff at Lice Clinics of America can be your best support system in removing lice from your home. We want to make you feel reassured as well, our products and Arielle system can do just that.
Wash bedding, mattress covers, linens, pillows, pillowcases, blankets, comforters, and towels. All clothing that has been worn in the last 48 hours also needs to be washed. Soak, wash and dry them in temperatures reaching at least 130 degrees. Dry cleaning is also a method that will kill lice and their eggs. Whichever option works best for you is important to do immediately.
Gather all personal items that could be carrying lice or eggs. Plush toys, stuffed animals, rugs, decorative pillows, throw blankets or any personal items that are a risk need to be placed in the dryer on a high heat setting for 30 minutes.
Should I bag items for 2 weeks?
When head lice fall off a scalp they cannot survive for more than a day or two. They need a host to feed on and stay warm. Lice eggs, or nits, do not hatch if not under proper conditions. If detached from a human head they will not have the heat and humidity needed to incubate. For this reason, some experts recommend bagging infected items for 2 weeks to suffocate lice and kill eggs. Although this is an effect, it is most often unnecessary unless you are dealing with an extreme case. Washing, soaking and drying items is just as effective in ridding them of lice and nits.
What are the best ways to sanitize hairbrushes?
All items used on the hair or scalp need to be collected, have all hair strands removed, and disinfected. This includes brushes, combs, hair ties, hair clips, headbands, or accessories. One easy method is to throw everything on the top shelf of a dishwasher. Run it through a normal cycle. High heat settings can cause plastic items to melt. You can also sanitize items by boiling a pot of hot water and soaking items for at least five minutes. Other people use rubbing alcohol, soaking items in it overnight fully immersed will thoroughly disinfect hair items. There is no need to throw them away. These methods will quickly and easily make them safe to reuse.
Is fumigation the best option?
No. Fumigation, fog insecticides or pesticides of any kind are not recommended in removing lice and eggs from your home. Sometimes harmful toxins from these chemicals can be inhaled or absorbed into the skin posing a health threat to your family and pets. Vacuum your home, rugs, carpets, couches, chairs, tapestries and all fabrics to remove traces of lice. Be sure to immediately remove the vacuum bag or empty the vacuum into an outside trash. Wipe down any leather or vinyl areas with a warm, wet cloth. A thorough, deep cleaning is the most effective, safe way to proceed.
Are my pets at risk?
No. Pets do not play any role in carrying or transmitting head lice.
This is the scariest time of year! With Halloween just around the corner, no one can be too careful to make sure children and adults alike don’t catch head lice. What could be more scary? Here is a fun list of do’s and don’ts to ensure you have a screaming good time this Halloween and avoid head lice.
Do take your family to a local pumpkin patch. All members of the family can appreciate a delightful hayride in the crisp, cool air. Most pumpkin patches offer much more than that as well. Some of our favorite activities include corn mazes, petting zoos, giant slides into corn kernels, pumpkin demolition, carnival games, and scouring through the patch on the hunt for that perfect pumpkin! Big or small, pumpkins from the patch just seem more festive. A helpful resource for finding your local pumpkin patch is http://www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org. They offer detailed information about farms in each Texas county. Be sure to call ahead and make sure you know what to expect.
Don’t share scarves, hats or beanies with others while celebrating out it the pumpkin patch. One of the fastest ways to catch lice is by transferring it from person to person off of headgear or apparel that touches the neckline. In just a few minutes one louse can creep off of the hat and onto your hair follicles. That’s how the problem begins. Be on the lookout for anyone sharing head apparel while bundling up on that hayride. Even jackets with a hood or collar can be the culprit for catching lice. Beware of sharing!
Do enjoy the Halloween spirit by having fun, festive nights at home. Who doesn’t get excited about a scary movie night at home? Grab the caramel corn and Halloween candy and get ready to be spooked! When your kids are little there are hundreds of amazing, festive movies to get them ready for trick or treating. A few of our favorites include Halloweentown, Casper, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Hocus Pocus to name only a few. Take advantage of the Halloween season and spend some frightfully fun time with your family!
Don’t let children get too cozy with friends while they watch their favorite Halloween show. Cuddling up to feel safe and warm may be just the thing that is actually spreading lice to your child. Friends or neighbors, cousins or siblings can easily pass lice to one another when they get comfortable on the bean bag together and sit closeby for hours at a time. Sharing blankets, pillows, stuffed animals or beds is also not a good idea. Be careful how to approach this as to not hurt feelings. But, if you are not sure someone is lice free you can never be too careful.
Do take the time to enjoy Halloween by getting creative with costume ideas. If you have a hankering to make your own costumes this year now is the time to start. There are so many items in closets and wardrobes that can be used when embellished with supplies around the house. Custom, awesome Halloween costumes do not have to be expensive. Get thinking and come up with some cool ideas to make this season especially fun!
Don’t share pointy witch hats, robot helmets, scary masks, or even eye patches with your friends! Beware what your child is trying on or playing with this season. It may be too tempting to put on their best friends amazing mask. Just warn them that lice may be the result. Don’t forget to check their heads after the festivities just to be sure everyone has only had good, harmless fun and not contracted lice!
It used to be that parents would worry about kids getting lice by while playing hide and go seek or laying down together in the treehouse but now parents have a new thing to worry about: selfies. That’s right, kids are now getting lice by taking selfies with their phone.
Scientists recently studied over 200 children and found that children who own a smartphone or tablet are twice as likely to get head lice than children who do not own a smartphone or tablet. They found that the reason for this is children who have these devices, take more selfies with their friends, giving lice the perfect opportunity to crawl from head to head. Children may bump heads without even realizing it.
Head lice infestations have increased in older children because of selfies as well. It’s not only elementary school children who get lice anymore. Selfies really create a domino effect of spreading head lice. So next time you get ready to take a selfie, beware.
Selfies And Super Lice
With lice spreading rapidly in elementary schools and now middle schools and high schools as well, it’s important to find a safe and effective lice treatment. Almost all lice infestations these days comprise of super lice, meaning they have a resistance to over-the-counter lice treatments and many other lice removal shampoos. drugstore lice shampoos are ineffective and in fact, can have harmful side effects. It’s extremely important to get educated and stay away from these products.
Trying head lice treatments does not have to result in a dead-end failure. Our treatments have been medically tested and strategically created to treat lice without the use of harmful pesticides. We offer a guaranteed treatment using a device that blows warm air to dehydrate lice and their eggs. Our high quality, non-toxic treatment is the perfect solution to one-and-done lice removal. Our treatments won’t harm your children or the environment.
No matter which treatment you choose when your child gets lice, make sure that it is first, safe and 2nd, effective. And take selfies at your own risk.