Apparently a quarter of parents lie (or at least keep quiet) about whether their children have head lice. But there’s no need to be in denial or embarrassed – just be open and sort the pesky things out!
The survey (from a lice treatment manufacturer seeking a name-check) says that 29% of dads and 20% of mums don’t tell the school or other parents when their child has head lice.
However, six in ten mothers apparently said that their greatest school-related fear was their child coming home with head lice. I don’t know about you, but of all the possible school-related fears – from ‘your child’s gone to hospital’ through to ‘could you manage the bouncy castle at the school fair?’ – I’d put head lice pretty far down the list.
Lice are a rite of passage
Head lice or nits (the egg cases) are a rite of passage. My two children and I recently suffered from this affliction (unfairly, my husband escaped). It was indeed itchy and horrible. But we got a treatment from a pharmacy and once it went on, with a bit of combing, the lice disappeared in about a day.
If people are lying about lice, it’s probably for one of two reasons. They could be in denial. To those people, I’d stress that the treatment is straightforward – so just do it and don’t risk other kids catching lice from yours.
Alternatively, they’re embarrassed because of a perceived stigma. To those people I also say – just treat the damned things and get on with your life. And you’ll find that if you tell the school and other parents, it’ll be met not with disgust but with gratitude (I know this from experience).
Plus, if you’re worried that telling the school will mean your kids will have to stay home, then be comforted by this, from the NHS website:
“There is no need for children with head lice to be kept off school. They will probably have had the infestation for several weeks, so keeping them away from school is unlikely to affect transmission.”
Lice are not fussy – clean hair, dirty hair, long or short, they’re happy to live in it. These myths and many others are busted in our guide to treating head lice. But, in general, don’t be scared of the lice or other parents and just get rid of them (the lice, that is).