A big part of what we do at Lice Clinics of Texas is to help families through the headache of a head lice outbreak. We understand that this is not just a physical problem but can create quite a bit of stress and anxiety for everyone involved. With that in mind, we decided to take some time to talk with a few kids who have dealt with a case of head lice. We wanted to know how it made them feel, what they understood and what we could do to make the process easier for them.
Hunter age 12, Olivia age 8, and Ethan age 7 were happy to answer our questions. Here’s what they had to tell us:
Question #1 – “What are Head Lice?”
Ethan remarked, “Head lice is really little bugs that have sticky stuff that sticks them to your hair. I think you can get them from outside.”
Olivia answered, “Head lice is where you have little bugs in your hair. You have lice bugs. Head lice they eat your hair. I am just guessing because they like to go on our head.”
Hunter told us, “Head lice are like really tiny bugs. They are only like a tiny speck so you can’t see them. I think they eat bacteria.”
Obviously, when it comes to the facts about head lice, these kids were a little unsure. It may not be very important that they know the correct details about what head lice eat, especially the fact that an average case of head lice results in 50-60 bites per day. However, knowing how head lice are transferred and where they are most likely to catch head lice can be a very important fact for kids. Teach them that head lice are most often a result of direct head to head contact with friends. Remind them not to share hair accessories, brushes, hoodies, hats, pillows or other things that come into contact with hair.
Question #2 – “How Did You Know You had Head Lice? How Did You feel?”
Olivia told us, “I was just taking a shower and then my mom sits on the couch, and I sit on the floor and then she combs my hair. With the bottom of the comb she was combing my hair and she found them. She tried to get all the bugs out with it. I felt so scared. I HATE bugs and I only wanted to sleep on the floor because I was scared the bugs were on my bed!”
Hunter said, “I felt like there were little bugs in my hair. I wanted to wash my hair like super, heavy duty, for like a really long time all day and all night. I wanted to get them out as soon as possible because it was gross.”
Ethan replied, “I think it felt kinda ticklish and like painful in my hair. I felt super scared and worried that I could get creeped out. I was worried I could get hurt.”
These feeling of worry, stress, anxiety, and fear can take over when your child has contracted head lice. It is important for parents to ensure children that head lice are not life-threatening, it is not something that makes them a dirty or bad person. Children can feel more strain and grief from these scenarios than we might realize. Information is power and can do a lot to help prevent children from catching head lice and feeling reassured if they do. Take the time to talk to your kids about prevention. Teach them the signs and symptoms as well so they know what to look for in the future.
Question #3 – “How Did You Feel After Your Treatment and Your Head Lice was gone?”
Olivia told us, “I felt so happy and relieved! I would not share brushes with any more second graders!”
Ethan remarked, “I was so happy I wanted to throw a party!”
Hunter said, “I felt like I was clean and felt a lot better. I felt like I could be around people again.”
Did You Know?
Head lice is a huge problem, worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in the United States alone 6-12 million children between the ages of 3 to 11 will contract head lice each year. This number is only growing with new “super lice” that show strong immunities to over-the-counter head lice shampoos and treatments. Also be aware, adults living in the same household with small children are much more likely to contract head lice themselves.
Why are Children More Often Prone to Head Lice?
Children play in large groups, ignore personal space boundaries, don’t discriminate or feel afraid to get up close and personal. While they are attending daycares, schools, playgroups or just playing in the backyard, they spend much more time closely-knit together. Because head lice are passed most often through direct head to head contact, they are more likely to pass it to one another.