Lice Lifters

Archive for March 2012

“No Nit” Policies Not The Wave of The Future

School funding is directly linked to Average Daily Attendance (ADA).  Based on the top performing public schools in Pennsylvania it costs approximately $70 to $80 per day to send a student to school.  When a student is absent from school that $70-$80 is considered lost funds.   If a student is absent on average 3 times in a school year that school loses $225 per student per school year.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) came out with new recommendations stating that children with head lice and or nits pose no health threat to other students.  A “no nit” policy is not necessary and the child should remain in school.   Missed days of school do not out weigh the consequences of a case of head lice.  The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) says, “No disease is associated with head lice, and in-school transmission is considered to be rare.”  While I agree with the first part of this statement, I ask you as a parent or a school nurse if you believe that “in-school transmission is considered to be rare”?

I feel in an effort to improve the ADA, and put more money back into the budgets of our schools the “no nit” policy was supported by these government agencies.  To make matters worse, the over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription pesticides products have become less effective and that is what these agencies recommend for treatment.

We see families affected by these policies and recommendations often.  They are frustrated to say the least.  The public reaction when the CDC and AAP came out with the new “no nit” policy was outrage.  Here is just one reaction; CDC down graded lice as a nuisance.

Lice infestations are on the rise and school budgets are on the decline.  In an effort to reduce absenteeism from school due to lice, we must rely on each other as parents to control the outbreaks. We can no longer rely on the schools’ “no nit” policies. Whether a “no nit” policy is the wave of the future or not, parent education is a must.  We can erase the stigma using good communication, safe, effective treatment, and head lice detection and prevention.   For more information, please go to the following :  parents, school nurses and camps.

Ilene Steinberg, CEO Lice Lifters aka The Nit Nanny

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Our personal introduction to head lice was when our oldest son was sent home from preschool when he was 2. Our daughter was about 6 months old at the time.  I treated only him with one of the over the counter pesticide lice treatments.  I followed the instructions with the plastic comb and did extensive house cleaning to the letter and repeated the whole process in 7 days like the kit instructed.  The next week (2 weeks since our 1st treatment) the preschool director called me to come and pick up Adam because he had lice again. Mortified, I rushed right to preschool and picked him up.   Before we left, the head checker asked if she could check me.  “Really ? I’m not itchy”.  I was 33 years old and never had lice before.  I pulled out my ponytail holder and sat down.  She parted my hair to look at my head.  Immediately she said oh my G-d! I was the newest member of the lice club!  What?!  Seriously?!?  Is this happening?  Now all of a sudden I was itchy. I had a lot of live lice.  I figured I probably had it for about a month.  So I went home and treated Adam yet again with the same pesticide treatment, did a ridiculous amount of laundry and combed him for what seemed like forever. Poor little guy! Since I was also nursing our daughter I did not want to put a pesticide on my head.  My wonderful neighbor spent hours and hours for days on end picking the hundreds of nits and lice out of my hair.  I don’t remember what else we did but eventually we got rid of our lice.  (Note: that very same angel of a neighbor, whose daughter babysat my kids, now works in our treatment center).

Ilene Steinberg, CEO Lice Lifters