Head Lice in School or What is Going on There Anyway?

Back to school? or Back to Lice!

September is lice awareness month. As you probably figured, this is not an arbitrary designation but rather is attributed to the return of children to school. You may wonder, what is happening in school anyway that is causing so many children to be diagnosed with head lice?

Factors that Contribute to the High Incidence of Lice in Schools

There are a variety of factors that contribute to the uptick in the incidence of head lice, particularly at this time of the year.

1. Head lice is generally passed through direct head-to-head contact. Young children, who play together or work in close contact with group projects have the opportunity to transmit lice to each other.

2. Older children who might take selfies, or play contact sports in gym, or hug each other in celebration of a winning game are in direct contact and may pass along lice.

Girl scratching head and making a face

3. In some schools, when children return to school, nurses conduct head checks thereby uncovering cases that may have been brewing all summer.  Not everybody who has head lice is itchy so some people may not even be aware that they have it.

Girl's long hair parted, looking for lice.

4. Chemical treatments are often ineffective in eradicating head lice. If a child has been treated with chemicals and returns to school, he or she may still be contagious and will unwittingly pass along an active case. Schools that still recommend chemical treatments, in the face of mounting evidence that chemicals are often Ineffective and may cause side effects, are not doing their students a favor.  Google "super lice" or visit the National Pediculosis Association website for more information on this.

Lice are Here to Stay

Unfortunately, head lice are part of today's school world; they have been around for hundreds of thousands of years and are not going anywhere. They are the second leading cause of school absenteeism, after the common cold. While you cannot absolutely prevent head lice, putting your child's hair up in a bun will act as a deterrent. We, at LiceDoctors, recommend that you check your child's hair in bright light once a week for signs of head lice. If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 800-224-2537 and we can help you out.