Head Lice and School

That time is quickly approaching moms and dads- BACK TO SCHOOL! While you may be partially jumping for joy to get your family back into the routine of the school year (and because you are regaining freedom for 6 hours a day lol) it is always a bummer when the fun, carefree days of summer come to an end. September and October are historically our BUSIEST months of the year for people coming in with active lice. I’m talking BIG groups of bug infested peeps calling us day and night! Many people ask what the “season” for lice is. The truth is that lice is an issue year round but the public’s awareness of head lice grows and depletes at different times of year. For example, during back to school time, lice is on every mom and dad’s radar in a big way. Throughout the September-October stretch we have a lot of people coming in with lighter cases. At other times of the year,  people come in with very heavy cases because nobody had the urge to check their child for lice until it was so apparent it could be seen from a mile away. This is not to the fault of the parent, we see this frequently so don’t let the “mom guilt” beat you down.

With all of this being said, back to school does happen to be our busiest time, BUT it has nothing to do with being back in school. What most parents don’t realize is that lice is a community issue that gets brought into the school, it’s not the other way around. It is not up to a school nurse to perform regular lice checks, it is up to moms and dads to be diligent in checking their families. School nurses have ALOT of kids with real health issues to look after during the school day- food allergies, dispensing medications, injuries that happen during recess.. the list is endless and those gals and guys work really hard to care for our children in our absence. One of the real issues I see in the clinic is parents coming down hard on school nurses in regards to a head lice outbreak at their school. The lice  policy is created by the school district usually and as I said, the BEST thing that a parent can do is to just take a quick peek at their kid’s hair every once in a while. School nurses are always there to help if you aren’t sure or don’t know what you are looking for but when it comes down to it, lice is not a health threat- it is a nuisance (ok a BIG pain in the behind). So next time you see your school nurse, thank her for working so hard and being there for our kids every day throughout the school year- they deserve a pat on the back!


Have a fun, amazing school year!