If you are a parent you likely find yourself on high alert when the word “lice” is mentioned. You’re scrolling Facebook and you see a parent asking for advice because lice has been discovered at their child’s school. You’re in the bleachers at your child’s sporting event and you overhear a mom mention their child has been dealing with head lice. The question almost every parent asks in those situations? Which school?!?
So here it is, the most up-to-date list of schools in Central Wisconsin and the Fox Valley where students have head lice. Is your child’s school on the list?
Yes. Every school is on the list. 1 in 20 children have lice at any given time. Of those children, only 40% experience the telltale “itch” that might alert a school nurse or parent to screen a child for head lice. What does that mean? It means that there are children in EVERY school at any given time who could have lice, many of them showing no signs or symptoms whatsoever. Does someone at your child’s school currently have lice? Most Likely. Is that cause for panic? No.
Lice do not live in our environments. They cannot survive long off of a human head. Lice don’t jump or fly, they can only crawl. In fact, because lice have everything they require for survival right there on a human head, they would never willingly leave the head to crawl onto an inanimate object like a chair or a stuffed animal. When multiple children in a school classroom have head lice, it isn’t because lice are living in the classroom, it’s likely because the children are working and playing in close proximity to one another.
So what are parents to do? First off, know that lice is nothing to be ashamed of, it can happen to anyone. If your child does get head lice, try to avoid placing blame. If you have a head of hair, you’re at risk for getting head lice. Because lice is likely on children in every school, a parent’s best defense is prevention. There are a number of measures you can take to prevent a lice infestation. Use preventative sprays that contain peppermint or tea tree. Lice Clinics of America carries a preventative peppermint spray that smells great to humans, but awful to head lice. Use defensive hairstyles like braids, or ponytails, that leave fewer loose pieces of hair for a head louse to access. Conduct your own weekly screenings. Lice Clinics of America carries all the tools you need, and will instruct you on how to conduct your own weekly screenings. If you think your child has been exposed to head lice and you want to be absolutely sure, schedule a professional screening at Lice Clinics of America-Central WI. Finally, breathe. Lice isn’t the end of the world. If your child gets head lice, Lice Clinics of America is here to help.