I hate head lice and nits. Our family has been-there-done-that many times. Look! I even wrote a poem about them! I used to be really embarrassed about infestations and rarely talked about the subject, unless it was a quiet word in someone’s ear: Um, just so you know …
I’m not like that anymore, and neither are my friends. In fact, some other parents in the playground are even more open and I think their attitude helped me overcome my feelings about it all. Another person who’s happy to talk about the subject is MOOV mum and former Olympic swimmer, Nicole Livingstone. She was kind enough to answer some questions for me.
Me: Do you remember the first time you spotted lice in your child’s hair? What was the story behind it? How did you feel?
NL: It was in my daughter’s hair when she was around eight years old. She had not had a head lice experience before and her school was good at doing regular checks and letting parents know if they had come across an infestation.
It actually happened during schools holidays so it shows you can never be off your game! She had some sleepovers with girlfriends and started to complain of an itchy head, which I thought must have just been a rash or dry scalp.
On closer inspection, it turned out to be more than just an itch. I was devastated when I found eggs and as she had really long hair and I thought, “Oh no, now we’ll never get rid of them and the other kids will get it too!”
Strangely, I couldn’t find any lice but we were straight onto it with a treatment plan nonetheless. I knew then there was no point in risking it!
Me: In your opinion how important is it to have a school’s support when combating lice?
NL: Open communication is the best way of beating head lice, otherwise it just ends up a continuous cycle of sharing it around! Schools do their bit with checks and letter home but it’s also the responsibility of parents to dispel myths and break down the unnecessary stigma around lice themselves. If more parents spoke openly about the issue, we would have a far greater chance of keeping infestations to the very minimum, if not, eradicating them all together in each individual school.
MOOV is actually rolling out a schools education program call “Defend Your Class” from this month onwards that will help with this. The program (developed in partnership with teachers to ensure it is in line with the curriculum) hopes to effectively break down the stigma of head lice between students and also parents. Each family will receive an education pack which focuses solely on the facts and aims to arm parents to over 150,000 children with new and more holistic ways to banish head lice and minimise the psychological impact on all involved when an infestation is discovered.
Schools can register themselves to be part of the “Defend Your Class” program by calling MOOV on 1800 101 282 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
I encourage everyone – schools, parents and kids – to get involved in this MOOV-ment against head lice!
Me: What tips do you have for parents who get caught up in the lice-cycle and might get discouraged that it will ever end!
- Teach your children that head lice like all types of hair – even Mum and Dad’s hair sometimes – and they are nothing to be embarrassed or worried about, just something that needs to be ‘zapped’.
- Regular checks need to become part of your routine. I’ve found that ‘our’ head lice quite like hair behind the ear; we joke that they hang out there as they think we can’t see them. It’s about lightening the mood for the kids as don’t forget but it’s unpleasant for them too!
- Even when you’re not concerned about head lice, try and check your children a few times a week. This will help remove the negative connotation for your children. It’s time to bond and can absolutely be a fun task. We pop a DVD on but you could set up a mini pamper parlour or pretend barber shop to make it less of a chore for everyone.
- Always have a bottle of MOOV Head Lice Solution in your cupboard at home. A good quality product will last for years and means as soon as you detect lice or eggs you can start treating the kids immediately, helping to stop any further spread at school.
- Speak up and don’t put it off. If just one mum stays quiet in fear of judgement, this provides the lice the perfect opportunity to continue their path towards world domination!
- Pledge to be more supportive of those parents that can’t seem to get a handle on the problem. They might need some friendly advice or someone to talk to about it. Offer to share your successful protection approach (detect, remove, talk and defend) with them if they’d like.
1) You must be an Australian resident.
2) Entry is determined by leaving a comment, giving me an example of your own lice story – from your childhood or, perhaps, present adventures!
3) One entry per person.
4) This competition will close at 7pm Wednesday 20th February. I will contact the winner shortly afterwards.
5) If no contact can be made I reserve the right to re-draw another winner.
6) The winner will be determined by a random number generator.
If you win, the prize will be posted out. Easy.
Edit: This competition is now closed. I’ll be contacting the winner very shortly.