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Should Kids Be Kept Out of School Due to Head Lice?

Published on October 20, 2020

Should Kids Be Kept Out of School Due to Head Lice?

Some schools are finally beginning to open up, and while there are protocols in place to deal with the ongoing pandemic, schools in the US still don’t have a solid solution for lice infestations.

As exciting as going back to school is for young kids, the anxiety of catching lice and being told to go home can hinder a child’s ability to focus in school.

In the US, 12 million adults and children get infected with lice every year. Despite lice infestations being incredibly common, parents and teachers continue to struggle with them.

Schools prefer to leave the handling of lice infestations to parents by enforcing No Nits Policies. These policies force kids to stay out of school until they’re free of live lice and nits.

So is it fair to ask kids to miss class because they have lice?

The Case Against No Nits Policies

No Nits Policies have existed for decades and were enforced to prevent lice breakouts in school. Even though most schools in the US have “no nits” policies, it hasn’t proven to curb lice infestations.

As icky as lice are, they don’t carry diseases, leaving many parents to wonder whether it’s necessary for kids to miss school because of them.

Both the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) and the American Academy of Pediatrics believe that head lice aren’t a public health crisis. Other than hurting our sensibilities, lice don’t cause serious health conditions.

According to NASN and the American Academy of Pediatrics, “no nits” policies are an overreaction. What makes matters worse is that school nurses don’t always know what they’re looking for when performing head checks and often send students home unnecessarily.

Because there’s a direct relationship between school absences and academic performance, many parents believe that the “no-nits” should be eradicated. Every year, lice-infested kids in the US collectively lose 12 to 24 million school days.

How is it alright for kids to lose 12 to 24 million school days due to infestations that don’t cause disease?

The NASN sounded the alarm on head-lice hysteria. According to the association, young kids experience social isolation and stigma after other students learn that they’re infested.

Social stigma, isolation, and extended absences take a toll on a kid’s confidence and academic performance, leading many to believe that “no nits” policies do more harm than good.

Keeping kids out of class isn’t a great solution. Working parents have to deal with calls from school and find a sitter to look after their child while they complete their work.

Lice infestations have a way of affecting everyone around you because they aren’t socially acceptable.

So should we revoke the no-nits policies and ignore lice infestations?

The Problem With Leaving Lice in Your Kids’ Heads

Kids playing with each other.

Lice Multiply Exponentially

Lice don’t carry disease, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do any physical harm at all. Head lice multiply really fast. They can go from being nits to adult louse in just a week!

A female louse has a lifespan of 30 days, during which she lays around 240 nits, who then lay another 240 nits each. It doesn’t take long for a full infestation.

Severe Itching

Lice infestations can get incredibly uncomfortable. Humans aren’t equipped to host parasites, so as lice colonies grow in their heads, they cause physical discomfort.

The more lice there are on your child’s head, the more food they’ll require. Head lice pierce the scalp and drink human blood as food. Hundreds of lice walking around your child’s head can cause them to lose blood every day.

Infections and Rashes

As lice walk around your child’s head, the pitter-patter causes itchiness. Before you know it, you’ll spot your kid scratching their head excessively, which can lead to secondary bacterial infections.

Some kids are allergic to louse bites and develop rashes during infestations.

A Complete Outbreak

Schools may be able to prevent ice outbreaks by forcing a handful of lice-infested kids to stay home until they’re lice-free, but what happens when hundreds of students are infected?

One of the biggest problems with leaving lice in a child’s head is that they will spread. Lice don’t remain on a single head; they like to spread around, which makes them so difficult to deal with.

A school may be able to send a couple of kids school, but what happens when another kid causes a re-infestation? Based on the “no-nit” policy, the kids will have to skip school once again.

This is what makes “no-nit” policies ineffective.

So what options do parents have?

Conventional Lice Removal Products

Frustrated parents do everything they can to remove lice from their kids’ heads as soon as possible. For decades, this involved dousing their child’s head in OTC anti-lice products. These products didn’t work in the first go, but they got the job done over a few weeks, meaning kids would still have to miss school.

Around 92% of anti-lice products contain pyrethrins and permethrin; these are low-intensity pesticides that attack lice’s nervous systems and paralyze them temporarily. After the shampoo paralyzes the lice, they loosen their grip on hair strands and can be washed away in the shower.

Unfortunately, most anti-lice products no longer work on the new generation of lice. Due to overexposure to these chemicals, lice in the US have become resistant to common pesticides used in anti-lice products.

Even when conventional anti-lice products worked, they weren’t an effective treatment because they didn’t impact the nits.

Nits are lice eggs that are covered in a hard, sticky substance that allows them to latch onto hair strands. No amount of water pressure or wind from a hairdryer will make them budge—they need to be extracted manually.

Treating head lice with anti-lice products meant exposing your child to pesticides multiple times to paralyze and remove all adult lice, so they aren’t around to lay nits. Washing your child’s hair once or twice with anti-lice products isn’t enough to remove them completely.

How Much Money Are We Spending On Ineffective Treatments?

There’s no doubt that lice infestations are a problem for US parents. Parents become desperate to get rid of lice from their children’s heads, so it’s no surprise that they spend about $500 million every year to treat lice infestations!

Sadly, all this money goes to waste since most of the anti-lice products available in the market don’t impact the “Super Lice” generation. The term “Super Lice” is used to describe the new generation of lice that’s resistant to common pesticides used in anti-lice products.

So is there a way of dealing with Super Lice?

Professional Lice Removal Services in Glen Cove, NY

Lice Troopers specialize in offering complete live removal services in Glen Cove, NY. Our professional lice removal services include in-home lice removal, house cleaning, and school, and camp head screenings.

Parents can also take their kids to our lice treatment salon in Glen Cove, where our team uses all-natural products and fine-tooth lice combs to extract lice manually.

Why Are Lice Infestations So Common in School?

Lice infestations are very common in school because of how physically close kids are to each other when they’re playing.

Just a couple of bumps with an infested head are enough to pass lice from one kid to another. If adults huddled around each other as often as kids, they probably would struggle with lice infestations too.

As irritating, icky, and inconvenient as lice infestations are, parents and kids shouldn’t feel guilty about getting infested. Life infestations aren’t anyone’s fault, they just happen, and when they do, you need to be prepared to deal with them without traumatizing your child.

While other insects are drawn to dirt and debris, lice aren’t. Many people continue to believe that head lice infestations are caused by poor hygiene, but they aren’t.

There are around 6 to 12 million lice infestations in the US every year. The cleanliness of hair has nothing to do with a louse’s inbuilt desire to walk onto a new head. It doesn’t matter what color your hair is, whether it’s dyed, or when you last washed it; lice just need a ¼ inch of hair to latch onto.

The longer a person’s hair is, the more surface area for lice to hop onto. African American hair is less prone to lice infestations because it’s usually tightly coiled. That being said, it doesn’t mean they can’t get infested.

Instead of panicking and feeling guilty about your child having lice, it’s better to call professional lice removal services to take care of the problem.

Lice Troopers’ Lice Removal Services in Glen Cove, NY

Little with hair embarrassed because of lice infestation

Lice Trooper’s professional lice removal services involve thoroughly screening the infested hair and using a fine-tooth comb to pull out live lice. After we’ve combed the hair multiple times, our technicians start picking nits with their hands.

Parents in Glen Cove can call us to their house for convenient in-home lice removal services and home cleaning inspection. If you’re comfortable with inviting us to your home, you can always head to our lice treatment salon.

In-Home Lice Removal Services

We know that we’re living in strange times, and you may be avoiding public spaces to protect yourself and your family.

If you don’t want to make your way to our lice treatment center, you can always call us over for in-home lice removal services.

When you hire us for at-home lice removal, we’ll send a team consisting of trained lice removal technicians and a couple of cleaners. Our team will arrive in an unmarked car to be discreet and avoid unwanted attention.

We understand that you may not want your neighbors to know that you guys have a lice infestation at home.

Our Lice Removal Process

We don’t use conventional anti-lice products to treat our clients because we don’t think kids should be exposed to harmful toxins.

Our lice-removal products are all-natural and completely free of harsh chemicals. We’ve developed a line of safe, organic in-house anti-lice products to remove lice.

Our technicians start the process by applying our organic products onto your hair to soften it, so the comb goes through it comfortably. We’ll then section the hair and use a fine-tooth comb to gently comb it and extract lice.

Lice get caught in the comb’s teeth and can be pulled out easily. We’ll comb all sections of the hair repeatedly to ensure no adult louse or nymph is left behind. After our team is sure that they’ve successfully removed all lice, they’ll section the hair again and start nit-picking.

Compared to combing out lice, nit-picking tends to take longer and is harder to do. Our technicians check above the nape of the neck, behind the ears, and close to the crown of the head to pick out all nits.

We make sure not to leave any nit behind. We even screen the heads of other family members.

Home Cleaning and Inspection

This is necessary because lice often fall onto carpets, bedding, towels, cushions, etc. Lice can survive without food for 48 hours, meaning they have 2 days to make their way back onto a human head and re-infest your family again.

We pull out the sheets and vacuum all the upholstery and carpets to ensure lice aren’t crawling around.

Lice Treatment Center in Glen Cove, NY

Mom-and-daughter-with-long-lice-free-hair

You also have the option of booking an appointment at our lice treatment salon in Glen Cove, NY.

Lice Troopers has a chain of lice treatment centers across New York. All of our facilities are brightly-lit and equipped with advanced technology. Our staff members do everything they can to make all clients feel comfortable and safe.

We use our in-house all-natural products in our lice treatment centers and modern technology to screen heads for nits and lice.

Precautionary Measures During COVID

We’ve directed our staff to clean their workstations after every client. We wipe down our seats with disinfectants, and our staff members are required to wear masks and gloves to protect themselves and our clients.

Although we’ve always been clean, we’re going the extra mile to keep everyone safe.

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