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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 email@example.com.
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!
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.
Karen Andrews is the creator of Miscellaneous Mum. This is one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country and is a two-time finalist in the Best Australian Blogs competition. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Is an exercise junkie (when she finds the time).
I remember getting lice often when I was a kid – for some reason they LOVED my head. My mum spent a small fortune on products
Worst experience I ever had was discovering my daughter had them for the first time when she was nearly 6! She had very long hair, was absolutely riddled with them, we were in a bad heatwave and I was about 37 weeks pregnant, for some reason I did all the combing through her hair outside because it was much easier to see the nits! Horrible horrible experience!!
2nd day of school this year I got a notice, headlice in both my daughters classes.
8yo has sensory processing disorder and screams the house down if I so much as touch her hair with a comb. This time at least I remembered to give the neighbours a heads up before hand so I wasn’t getting concerned citizens knocking on the door asking if everything was okay.
Both girls hair was checked and upon discovery of live adult lice in the 9yo hair we were all treated.
Imagine my horror when only a week later we receive a notice that there is lice in every grade at school! I wanted to shave all our heads there and then!
Marita recently posted..”If my imagination could come to life, I would make planets come alive.”
Luka and I seem to be in a neverending cycle of head lice – should have bought shares in de-lousing shampoo.
Anna Ryan-Punch recently posted..Poems in the wild #40
Oh the pain of it all! My daughter’s 2nd week at kindie and We have them already. Arrgh – it is horrible having long curly hair. Too many places to hide. I agree with this article – definitely needs to be discussed amongst parents and how to rid ourselves of them
Last year, three of my daughters got nits all at the same time.
It was an absolute nightmare!!!
One has hair down to her bottom, and it was torture trying to comb through it every day with conditioner to remove them.
My other daughter has anxiety issues, and doesn’t like to be touched, so you can imagine how difficult it was to get her to co-operate.
And the youngest is just 2, so she wouldn’t keep still!!
It was a really awful experience an dI hope we don’t experience it again for a long time!
I remember the lice-cycle from when I was a kid. My sister would start scratching, there would be a head check and then out came the stinky horrible chemicals that felt like it was burning off your scalp. I could never work out why I was being punished for her lice as I was treated when she was despite never having any. Now as a parent, I am frequently doing nit checks for family, friends and neighbours, my one and only super power seems to be spotting nits from a mile away!
When I was a new mum, I was very naïve about head lice and really had no idea! When my son was in Prep, he came home from school one day and had an itchy head. I just assumed it was a heat rash or dandruff, and made him shower more regularly in order to soothe the scalp. Little did I know that the poor little man had head lice! He suffered for about a fortnight, and then we received a notice from the primary school informing all parents that there was an outbreak in the class. OMG, was I feeling guilty as hell! My son was so patient, and suffering in silence all this time! I bought all the gear (solutions and combs) and treated him straight away.
From then on, I have been vigilant with both my children. Thank God there are brilliant products like MOOV available to us. I can’t imagine how hard it would’ve been in the dark ages to try to kill these annoying creatures!
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