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to think it is ridiculous that in todays Britain schools have head lice problem?

(173 Posts)
judyta101 Sun 15-Jan-17 15:20:26

The head teacher in my DS school regularly sends out letters: 'head lice alert!', 'check your child's hair today for unwanted visitors'. DS who is now 7 got head lice twice in the last six months - first time I had to google it as never seen it before. I was terrified and run fast to the nearest chemist. We moved to the North West over a year ago, but also had the letters in previous school in South Wales.
I have lived in the UK for long time now, but I was born and brought up in Eastern Europe, went to school in the eighties, heard someone had head lice once or twice, it had never spread, never been a problem. Never heard about it at the university or the school I was teaching at.
I asked my SIL (a retired teacher) about it - she laughed it off saying her granddaughters (teenagers now) get it now and again too.
Is it so common and normal that it's just a part of a school life? Am I unlucky to live where it is a problem? Are people not bothered by head lice?

LBOCS2 Sun 15-Jan-17 15:24:26

Yes, no and no, in answer to your questions.

It's just one of those things. Children spread lice as they're in close proximity to each other - particularly in the sort of play and group based learning environments which are encouraged nowadays. They're not a big deal, it's not hygiene related. Some parents are too relaxed about it which is why they're sometimes difficult to eradicate.

SmellySphinx Sun 15-Jan-17 15:28:15

Of course people are bothered, I would be slightly ish bothered by someone who was surprised at their child getting headlice to be honest. I have no clue what the problem is like the world over, I've only ever lived in North West England. It was a problem in my primary school, a little less in high school, not at all in college. It was a problem in my parents schools, it's an on again off again problem in my childrens primary school, not so much the high school though. Always seems to flucuate in the Summer month(s)

Not sure what todays Britain has got to do with Headlice though but if Eastern Europe has the answer to stopping them, we would like to know!!

RaptorInaPorkPieHat Sun 15-Jan-17 15:28:18

Back in my day <old gimmer alert> grin

The nit nurse used to visit and you would be sent home for it to be dealt with immediately.

Now, even if the staff notice a particular child has lice they can't tell their parents, they can only send out a general notice.

It's ridiculous.

gamerchick Sun 15-Jan-17 15:34:17

You were terrified, didn't know what they were? I take it you haven't encountered worms yet?

We had nitty Nora in the 80s, we have letter telling us to check now.

Make sure you tell the school so they can dish out another letter.

HateSummer Sun 15-Jan-17 15:34:50

A lot of parents try to "treat" lice with chemicals. Then don't retreat the hatched eggs <shivers>. I know a mother who kept buying shitty chemicals and claimed the nits weren't going away 🙄. Not once did she physically removed the nits and eggs with a comb. Idiot.

I've recently bought a nitty gritty comb and it's amazing. It took us 2 sessions to get rid off all nits and eggs in my dd's hair. Brilliant thing.

insancerre Sun 15-Jan-17 15:36:12

You were terrified?

HateSummer Sun 15-Jan-17 15:37:38

God, you were terrified? Stop being a wuss fgs.

gamerchick Sun 15-Jan-17 15:37:56

And you have checked the rest of the household haven't you?

NotStoppedAllDay Sun 15-Jan-17 16:06:32

Have you heard about threadworms?? Far more common.... go google

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sun 15-Jan-17 16:13:51

I actually agree with the OP to an extent.

Yes, headlice are to a certain extent inevitable, but not to the degree they seem to be today. Some parents obviously send their kids to school absolutely infested with headlice, and don't treat them.

Before Christmas DD came back with new headlice three times in a row - the teachers know who the infested kids are but seemingly aren't allowed to tackle the parents about it sad

Mari50 Sun 15-Jan-17 16:15:20

Interesting bit of hyperboli

Mari50 Sun 15-Jan-17 16:17:03

Oops posted too soon, but two cases of lice don't make a national problem, headline is just one of those things, most kids get it at some point, I had it a couple of times when I was young, DD has so far escaped unscathed despite her best friends having it twice. But I'd just get over it OP, it's hardly the plague

Doolallylally Sun 15-Jan-17 16:17:34

School nursing is virtually a thing of the past, with one nurse covering so many schools it's impossible to offer any sort of service.

Branleuse Sun 15-Jan-17 16:22:07

they were common when i was at school, and fairly common at my kids school too. Kids catch and pass on gross stuff. Fact of life

Mrsemcgregor Sun 15-Jan-17 16:22:37

The lice are more resistant to treatments now I believe?

If DS brings them home I do one treatment (the foam one) and comb for a week and they are gone. It's no big deal.

TammySwansonxx Sun 15-Jan-17 16:22:45

Agree, we are pathetic about it here. Kids with nits need to be sent home and not allowed back until treated. It might not be a hygiene issues, but untreated nits is neglect. Some parents are a disgrace, but having to sort childcare because they can't send their kids to school will focus them

Mrsemcgregor Sun 15-Jan-17 16:22:56

And now my head itches.

Headofthehive55 Sun 15-Jan-17 16:25:35

You do realise you will almost certainly have eyelash mites don't you? Try not to be so squeamish.

A nurse was not able to tell with any certainty that they child doesn't have head lice. You can not tell just by inspecting the hair that they are clear. You need to comb.

By the time they are scratching, the child has had them three weeks.

DJBaggySmalls Sun 15-Jan-17 16:26:06

I agree, some things shouldn't be a problem any more. We knew someone who had an infestation of body lice. The thing that bothered me most is how have they survived this long after the invention of detergents and washing machines?

The reason some of these parasites and diseases survive is because people let them.

Acornantics Sun 15-Jan-17 16:29:04

We've avoided it so far, until recently when 14 yo DS had them.

Seems high school is much more lax than primary for sending out notices if there's a bit of a run on headlice.

Headofthehive55 Sun 15-Jan-17 16:31:26

I'm afraid there is resistance building up to the pesticides.

habibihabibi Sun 15-Jan-17 16:33:31

When I was a school child (not in England ) the remedy for nits in kids was head shaving .

I think it's ridiculous you can't exclude a child from school for head lice. it is a complete PIA teaching scratchy kids and they spread so quickly. In my school it is the often the same families time and time again.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 15-Jan-17 16:40:13


the teachers know who the infested kids are but seemingly aren't allowed to tackle the parents about it

I and other teachers have tackled the issue and have had a shit load of abuse for our troubles.

If people really want to moan about head lice they should at least be moaning about the parents that don't treat their children for head lice.

Headofthehive55 Sun 15-Jan-17 16:41:03

No I don't think children be excluded. At all. For something that largely is annoying, but doesn't cause serious harm. To successfully treat, it takes three weeks, even if using the pesticides. If only one nit is left, then you haven't got rid of the problem. The life cycle is three weeks. Hence you need to comb for three weeks to ensure all are gone.

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