There are a lot of new things that come along with the beginning of the new school year. New routines, riding the school bus for the first time, and your child spending all their time away from you while you finally are able to get things done around the house. Let that sink in for a moment– you will actually be able to get stuff done at home!
Some of the new things are exciting for both of you and some are scary to kids who just don’t know what to think when all they knew was being with you every day. There’s a certain sense of pride and accomplishment as a parent that comes along with that first picture you snap of them getting on the bus. It might be the way their backpack that is one size too big dwarfs them while their little head barely clears the top, or how tentatively they go up the bus steps like walking on eggshells. You did it. You got your baby to school. It was inevitable that this day had to come. It was inevitable that they would grow up faster than you would have liked. Sigh.
It is also inevitable that someone in your child’s grade or even your own kid will be infested with lice this year. Ah, the drawback to bringing many kids together in close proximity. Welcome to school kids! Make friends and get closer than you ever thought possible.
I have to be honest, when I read a notice of a case of head lice in my son’s school, I freaked. I wondered “Why don’t parents keep their kids clean?” and I started to question whether I was bathing my kids enough or changing their sheets frequently enough. We asked some dads in the NAHDN what their experiences with lice have been and how they handled it.
My 8 year old daughter has had head lice twice in the last 6 months. The first time, our school had sent home a notice that someone in her class had lice so I checked her that day and found that she had it. My first thought was, “Ah man! I don’t have time to deal with this!” My head started itching right away and I was convinced I had them too. The note explained what to do and I treated her that day and sent her to school the next day. I washed EVERYTHING. I put all her stuffed animals in trash bags. I checked our other 3 kids nearly every day. My wife was much more grossed out about it than me and wanted me to treat all the kids just in case (I read online that you shouldn’t do that – treatment only kills live lice; it doesn’t prevent lice). The second treatment didn’t work so I had to do the whole process again. That finally did it. Until a couple weeks ago when my daughter found a louse on her hair brush. I went through the process again which wasn’t quite as difficult since I knew what to do. She is clean again. No one else in the family got it. — Al Watts
There is a misconception that head lice has something to do with how clean your home is. Other parents that I have spoken with have felt like failures for not staying ahead (see what I did there) of the situation. The simple fact is, anyone can get lice no matter how clean your home or hair is. Lice infestation is the second most frequent health issue for school-age kids in the U.S., each year affecting more than 12 million children, ages 3 to 11, second only to the common cold according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
I have not had head lice nor have my children. But I am a paramedic and take care of patients that have the parasites. It is a constant worry going in and out of homes with bed bugs, lice, and fleas. Several times I have transported patients and have had to get the medicated shampoo because of the infestation and this was prior to having children. Now, with a three year old and an eight month old, the thought of having to decontaminate my house is one of the worst feelings about being a paramedic. —Jeremiah Lucas
Lice feed on the blood of the scalp and a typical reaction to their bites is frequent itching. While that is an indication that they may be present, itching can take 4-6 weeks to show up. Lice can’t fly and you can’t get them from pets but they are commonly transferred from person to person through direct head-to-head contact, not as one might typically expect from sharing hairbrushes, scarves, or hats as is common perceived. The best defense against lice are weekly head checks at home to make sure it doesn’t spread to the rest of the family.
I decided my children are better off with shaved heads, like me. — Eric Boyette
No need to take extreme measures when it comes to treatment of a lice infestation. Luckily, there are common over-the-counter ways to combat this annoying problem that will bug you. While other products have traditionally used pesticides, a new generation of super lice have become immune to these treatments. Vamousse has come up with a new way to kill lice and eggs using natrum muriaticum which dehydrates the lice without using pesticides in one 15 minute treatment. Vamousse, offers safe, non-toxic head lice control products for the family and home and includes a lice treatment, lice defense, and lice elimination powder to treat household items that can’t be laundered, killing lice on contact.
There are steps that we can take as parents to prepare our kids (and ourselves, emotionally) for the kids heading off to school. But when it comes to their health and safety, making sure they aren’t really putting their heads together in the classroom can go a long way. Educate yourself and your kids to minimize risk and follow the 5 steps below courtesy of our convention sponsor, Vamousse, to ensure that what bugs us most this school year is that they are growing up too fast and there isn’t anything we can do about that.
5 EASY STEPS TO REDUCE INFESTATION RISK
1. No sharing. Remind kids to keep belongings that touch their heads to themselves.
2. Give them space. Tell kids to not share cubbies or lockers with friends.
3. Go for an updo. When possible, have children wear long hair pulled back.
4. Play smarter. Encourage kids to avoid games that involve head-to-head contact.
5. Keep alert. If you notice your child has symptoms of lice, do a thorough check so you can treat it right away.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Vamousse as part of their support for HomeDadCon 2016, the 21st Annual At-Home Dads Convention, taking place Oct. 7-9 in Raleigh, NC.