If you are from my generation or older, you may remember the days when it was a routine community health initiative for healthcare providers to swoop into the grade schools and with their cotton swabs in hand, they would line up the children for head lice screening.
Remember how as a student, you held your breath hoping that you didn’t have whatever cooties they were looking for? So that you wouldn’t get pulled aside and then get sent home with a note?
You didn’t know exactly what was going on, but you knew it wasn’t good.
These days, it is rare to see these initiatives in our underfunded schools anymore, so it’s not a hard reach to realize that more and more kids walk around with these pesky little nits hitching a ride.
I was reminded of this fact when recently I noticed the white little eggs sacs in my own small son’s brown hair. I knew that since there were only a few nits that I had noticed the unwanted hitchhikers before it became a bonafide infestation.
I spent the better part of the afternoon treating my son’s hair and head with the medicated shampoo system and then sanitizing his clothes, bedding, and stuffies he uses as pillows. I went so far as to double wash and rinse all the sofa cushions that he likes to track all around the house too.
Because these little critters can take hold of one’s household if left alone and then within weeks, everyone will be itching their scalps.
Historically, most people think that these types of “infections” are associated with low income, socially underprivileged areas, but the fact of the matter is that this is a fallacy and a bit discriminatory.
In our suburban middle to upper middle class neighborhood where many literally live with pets as part of the household and where the little boys huddle together with their heads touching hunched over the shared Nintendo DS game and where little girls share brushes and head bands at their sleep overs, the little head lice easily jump from one kid to another, from one town to another, from dog to toddler, etc.
With this fact in mind, my next trip into my son’s class as a parent volunteer, I quickly realized that during computer time, he was usually sharing a monitor with a fair haired boy who was absent mindedly scratching his head every once in a while.
My son was only 1 of 3 children with darker hair and it was apparent that no one had noticed the index case was a blonde- of course the white nits are more difficult to see with a cursory glance in him.
I surreptitiously took a closer look and it was immediately apparent that this boy was infested and was unknowingly “sharing” with most of the kids in his class!
A private talk with the school nurse corrected this problem within a few days, but you can be sure I check my son more often now.
So do you have any inkling on what could be lurking in your kids’ hair? Those little cooties could easier hop off their hair to yours.