You receive the dreaded call from your child’s school, “Your child has lice. Please come pick her up immediately.” You feel like the world’s worst mom. Doubts go through your mind: maybe you don’t bathe your child often enough; perhaps your need to vacuum the house more often; is your whole house infested now? Should you move? These fears may sound a little over done, but in our society lice has gotten a bad rap. Your child, and perhaps your whole family, will be shunned by the school and the neighbors until you can prove to them that your entire family and house has been sterilized and is now lice-free.
The truth about lice is that it has nothing to do with hygiene, socioeconomic status, or ethnic background. Most importantly it has no health consequences. Here is a brief discussion about lice, how to treat it, and how to get your family accepted back into society again.
Lice (singular – louse) are tiny insects called mites. They are not microscopic – they can be seen with the naked eye. The proper name is pediculosis. Adult lice lay eggs on the hair shafts of the head, about 3 mm from the scalp skin. After one week, the eggs hatch and an immature, mobile louse nymph emerges. This nymph hides in the scalp and after 2 to 3 weeks it matures enough to begin laying eggs. Adult lice can only live 1 or 2 days away from a warm body, and the eggs must be close to the warm scalp in order to hatch. They feed on human blood through tiny bites in the skin.
There are several things to look for:
Non-medicated treatments – here are several harmless, messy, ineffective home treatments that probably will not eliminate lice.
The idea is that these work by suffocating the lice and their eggs. Read more about Lice Home Remedies and Why They Don’t work .
Yes, you do need to try to get all the nits out. This is where the term “nit-picky” comes from – being meticulous about picking out all the nits.
Some schools have a “no nit” policy, stating that your child must be completely free of nits before returning to school. This policy has not been shown to decrease the spread of lice, but some schools remain strict nonetheless.
Let’s Be P.A.L.S offers same day service in most cases.