MOMS & DADS TALK: Worried About Head Lice?
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There are some things about the early 90s that I'll never forget: The 1992 presidential election (my first grade class had a pretend vote), Super Mario World and head lice.
Living in North Perry Hall, I attended Kingsville Elementary School, a little gem on Sunshine Avenue. The dedicated teachers, the gorgeous grounds, those incredibly patient lunch ladies—I loved it there. But, unfortunately, our fun was often punctuated by class trips to the nurse's office.
In a single file line, we filtered through her tiny closet-sized office. It took only seconds for her to sift through our scalps with tongue depressors, in search of head lice.
I remember standing in the hallway, praying that I would be spared. Fortunately, I never had head lice, but plenty of my classmates did. They certainly weren't dirty children. Their parents appeared to take good care of them. But the idea of bugs living in their hair was disgusting and terrifying.
Children left behind in the nurse's office after an inspection were often subject to name-calling and any number of nasty rumors.
Unfortunately, few of us understood that head lice has nothing to do cleanliness or personal hygiene. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, head lice is caused simply by head-to-head contact with an infected person, most common during sports activities, on the playground, during slumber parties or at camp.
They can also be spread by sharing clothing or belongings. Children are at the highest risk, but any person can act as a host. Head lice is not considered a major medical or public health hazard. They cause itchiness and sometimes bleeding, but they cannot spread disease, according to the CDC.
Recent news reports show that head lice is on the rise in Harford County. Are you worried about it in Perry Hall schools as well? Have you talked to your kids about head lice? How are children with head lice treated?