You have found that your child has head lice. You are dealing with the problem of eradicating it. That may feel like a challenge in and of itself. Next come the questions: Do I let my children's friends know about this? Should I call their parents? What do I say to them?
Why It's a Good Idea to Alert Other Parents
Of course, this is a phone call that most people do not want to make. While it is totally up to you as to whom you tell and when, our experience is that it is a wise idea to call the parents of your child’s close friends and anyone else who has been in very close contact with your child.
Making other parents aware that their child has been exposed to lice is important in helping to break the contagious cycle associated with head lice. It gives them the opportunity to check their child and find a case early on when it is easier to treat and possibly before that child has passed along the case to other children. Some people who have lice show no symptoms at all; if a parent is not aware that the child has been exposed to lice, it is unlikely that he or she will be on the lookout for a case until that case is quite advanced. If that parent is given a heads up, she can take the necessary steps to eradicate the case.
You Have Paid Good Money to Clear Your Child of Lice; You Want to Reduce the Chances of Re-Exposure
Let's face it, if you have spent time and money on getting your child clear of lice, you want to be sure that he or she is not immediately re-exposed. At LiceDoctors, we put you on a follow-up plan and we offer LiceDoctors Peppermint Repellent Spray to help ward off future cases, but nothing, short of sequestering your child, is a full guarantee that your child will remain lice-free several weeks later if she has a sleep-over with a friend who is infested. A conversation with other parents allows them to get their child cleared of lice so they do not pass it back to your child.
Lice are So Prevalent: Have a Plan in Place With Other Parents Before Your Children Get Lice
Your child has a 10-20% chance of contracting lice each year. Those are pretty high odds especially when compounded over the many years he or she is in school. We advise parents to “talk amongst yourselves” and have a plan of attack in place. It is easier to initiate a conversation when there is no “blame” involved. The plan could be: if one of our child’s group of friends gets lice, let's agree to call each other that day so everyone can be checked. Perhaps go so far as to discuss treatment options. We recommend that you discuss the downside of chemical lice treatments and their lack of effectiveness and potential side effects. We also suggest that you talk about ways to prevent lice such as applying gel or mousse or lice repellent to the hair before playdates or sleepovers and doing weekly head checks on your children.
Remember Head Lice Have Nothing to Do with Poor Hygiene
Keep in mind that anyone can get head lice. If your child gets lice, it has nothing, nada, zero to do with bad hygiene. In fact, quite the opposite: head lice prefer clean hair as it is easier for the louse to grab hold of hair that is not oily. The stigma associated with head lice is diminishing (fortunately!) but still remains. The more open parents are about discussing lice, the more “normal” or “regular” it becomes. You don't hide the fact from their friends that your child has a sore throat and likewise there is no need to conceal a case of lice. The more open we are about the presence of lice, the easier it is to prevent and combat.
LiceDoctors is available day or night to combat head lice. We can be reached 7 days a week at 209-451-2181. If you learn that your child has lice or if you have any questions, please call us and we will help you! For more insigt into talking with other parents about head lice, check out our Education Center topic on a similar subject How do I Tell My Child's Friend's Parents That My Child Has Lice?