ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

LICE: They're Smarter Than You Think

Updated on July 24, 2015
Checking For Head Lice
Checking For Head Lice | Source

Fighting An Epidemic

So in order to set this up, you must know that I have three children and all three attend a very nice public school. By very nice, I mean the kind of nice you find in small towns where everyone knows each other and the same kids who begin Kindergarten together walk the stage at senior graduation. Nice also means clean and fairly new and somewhat cultured. Now, take the sum of three children and attendance for an entire school year (sans one or two days due to strep) and multiply that by the collective number of years my children have been in school, which is 14. Now please note that during this marathon of successful schooling not one single child of mine has come home with that plague of all plagues, head lice.

Sure, there were times when whispers of the wee beasties blew through the halls and into the ears of carpool moms. Sometimes we discovered someone we actually knew had the vermin, but it was always ancient history by the time the culprit came clean. If a mom were to be found out, she would laugh nervously and say something like, “Oh, yeah…Forrest had a few nits, but we took care of that months ago…” It’s like someone finding out you did a stint in rehab, only worse. When a person exits rehab people bolster you with kind words and encouragement for the future. Lice, on the other hand (or head for that matter), scars you with a label of being a creepy crawly condo. I used to be a mother who fancied herself impervious to such a blight (or else I was just lucky) and I often wondered if it was the parents who were making all the fuss. In other words, did lice affect the grown ups far more than their offspring hosts? This answer, I now know, is NO. I was wrong and I am sorry. If karma is a biscuit-eater, then I brought a jar of honey.

It started when my daughter announced to me that her scalp had been itching all day. Immediately, I expertly suggested that we change shampoos. After all, she does have sensitive skin. Then I stated that the heater could be drying the air in her room and thus her skin would tighten and itch. I was on a roll with my theories when she bluntly said, “Mom, can you check my head for lice?” Absolutely, for I had nothing to fear; she had never had lice before. I checked. I checked again. “What are all of these grains of sand in your hair?” I asked. She shrugged. We googled lice and studied photos of nits...and of bugs. I didn’t know what to do! I racked my brain and remembered countless tips from various mothers – veterans in the wars of lice. Mayonnaise, vinegar, toxic chemicals, a magical potion made of lemon and eucalyptus, hair dye, electric combs that shock the little demons; the list went on and on. A late night trip to the drug store provided me with a “safe” shampoo and a plastic nit comb. The adventure began.

Before it was all over and done, all three of my children had lice at different times, and my daughter suffered through three rounds of the creatures. Why? I’ll tell you why. The school system has finally lost the war on head lice. I went from being a grunt in boot camp to General Patton when it came to my battle against lice. I bought a dog groomer’s industrial flea comb and used it to check my kid’s hair daily. I spent hours under bright lights seeking out and destroying nits the size of bacteria. I learned that wrapping a warm towel around a head soaked in vinegar for 10 minutes would render all life extinct. I learned that a tablespoon of tea tree oil in our shampoo kept the bugs at bay. It did not take me long to know these critters were hitching rides from school. I called the school. The nurse told me she would “look into it.” After round two I called the school and wrote a letter in triplicate: one for the teacher, one for the nurse, and one for the principal. What happened to the lice checks? What happened to the lady with the plastic gloves and the toothpicks, rooting through everyone’s hair? What happened to calls from the nurse’s office and letters sent home? I’ll tell you what. They were gone. After throwing a few tantrums and writing several letters, the nurse from the board of education called me. The conversation went something like this:

NURSE: “Mrs. Jackson, this is Nurse Peggy from the Board of Education…”

ME: “Oh hello! (thank God!) You got my letter?”

NURSE: “Yes, Mrs. Jackson and I do not think you are aware of our new policies concerning head lice.”

ME: “New policies?”

NURSE: “We no longer feel it necessary to perform lice checks in the classroom, as it is a disruption to the learning process and an interruption to the teachers and staff. Furthermore, lice are not life threatening and therefore we feel students do not need to miss school because of it.”

ME: (after a long pause) “Sooooooooooo spending my hard earned money on remedies to get rid of the lice and then having my children return to infested classrooms is NOT a disruption to OUR family’s life and the fact that my daughter is mortified by this dilemma and cries at the sight of the comb has no bearing on these decisions? Is the school willing to provide us with free RidX? Do you have children, Nurse Peggy?!?”

NURSE: “No head checks. Do not call the nurse, she will not do anything. Good day.”

So the lice won. Vermin vs. Board of Education: winner LICE. I started making calls to parents. I utilized chit chat to ask questions. After a few weeks of field research I learned that I was not alone. Quite the contrary, dozens of angry parents had made their voices heard when it came to the epidemic raging inside the school. It got so bad that at one point over half the school’s student population was absent for treatments of head lice. After all, no self respecting parent worth their weight would send a child to school to A) infest other children and B) suffer the brunt of embarrassment. Like my daughter said, “Today in class I saw Jose scratch his head during math. We all stayed away from him.”

When a parent has nowhere else to turn, they turn to one another. Before Christmas I believe every parent of every child in that school had been informed via the network that lice was on the rampage. Drastic measures have been taken in every household and eventually the lice dwindled to a small colony at best. We moms are continually on watch. The lice are still out there. Like the mafia, they lie in wait and plot their next victim. News of lice still surface, but so far we have managed to keep our heads clean and nit free. I still have my industrial comb and as long as school is in session, my children will have their heads checked for lice on a weekly basis. Moms pass one another in the carpool line and nod. “Still checkin?” one mom will say. “So far so good,” the other will say.

We live in a world where schools are putting in metal detectors and searching lockers for guns and handing out condoms without consent, but refuse to check a 5 year old’s head for lice. Schools no longer allow such frivolities as holiday parties, show and tell or field trips. Schools have removed art and music programs. Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance are now a disruption to the learning process. Parents want the schools to discipline their kids so they don’t have to, and schools want parents to leave them no reason to call Child Services. The lice? Well, they’re doing just fine. Like the alligator species has survived since the age of the dinosaurs, lice will continue to thrive in elementary schools. Maybe it’s time I learned not to expect so much from the schools. Were parents just lazy before? What did we expect? I wonder if Nurse Peggy has ever had head lice?

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      My daughter got them from the neighbor's kids. They had 8 children running around infesting every family in the neighborhood and would not treat their kids heads. The schools never sent them home, just my daughter and her other friends in the neighborhood. They threatened to call children's services on us. The ladies in the neighborhood finally had it. We chipped in and bought 2 cases of Rid-X and had a lice party. We used one of the neighbor's garages and treated every kid in the neighborhood for 4 months. Every 2 weeks we did that until those neighbors moved. Thankfully, it was before all the kids suffered brain damage. My daughter has the thickest hair around and it was terrible getting the nit comb through her hair. She screamed and cried and whined. She still played with those kids and would to this day if they lived close enough. THEY STILL have lice. My son ran across them a couple of months ago and his kids had lice the next day.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Perhaps you should take the towel that was wrapped around the child's head and shake it on her desk. My son has not had the nasty creatures (Thank You God)but someone in his class did. I learned several years ago that Listerine will also kill them and their offspring. Yuck to the nth power.

    • melodyandes profile image

      melodyandes 

      7 years ago

      Great article.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)