Let’s Talk…The Facts of Lice
I suddenly become keenly aware of every itchy feeling when the subject of head lice comes up. While none of us are thrilled to learn we might be dealing with a case of these critters in our program, the bottom line that we must remember is that in the grand scheme of things, this a minor one. Parents might often be upset, but we have to help educate them to the fact that lice are not known to carry disease and are not associated with bad hygiene – even the best scrubbed children can get head lice.
There are plenty of resources available to help you in recognizing and dealing with head lice. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has an excellent front and back flyer – Child Care That Works: Children and Head Lice. Here are some other resources I would also recommend:
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension - Love the fabulous pictures and videos on this site that go along with the research-based info! And they offer materials in Spanish, Arabic, and Russian.
- Iowa Department of Public Health – A brochure helping parents follow a 14-day treatment schedule.
- Kids Health – Easy to read and based on sound medically reviewed information.
- National Public Radio – Just the facts and dispels the myths.
In 2002, the American Academy of Pediatrics revised its head lice position, stating that no healthy child should be excluded from or allowed to miss school because of head lice, and that “no nit” policies for return to school should be discouraged. What are your program’s policies with regards to lice?
Bottom line….there is no reason not to turn a “lousy” situation into a learning experience. I’m hoping you appreciate my humor here! Preschool children can study an enlarged photo of a louse or perhaps you might have access to allow them to examine one under a microscope. Find fun animal videos showing various animals exhibiting “nit-picking” grooming behavior. Brainstorm with children items that go on or near the head, and then post with visuals as a reminder to not share these items.
I hope to hear from you! What has been your experience with these pesky critters? Do you have a “no nit” policy in your handbook? What are your thoughts on AAP’s recommendation to not exclude children from educational opportunities because of head lice? Have you ever incorporated lice into your lesson plans?