There are many benefits to regular screening such as:
·Normalizing the subject of head lice
Head lice are more common that you think. In an average school we find up to 10% of the school population with active infestations. That’s a lot of families dealing with head lice at one time. Head lice should be a topic people can talk about openly and get help and assistance from their friends, family, and neighbors. The more we talk about it, the easier it is for families to get help.
·Diagnosing infestations earlier
Finding head lice at the earlier stages, makes removal a lot easier. It is much more difficult to eliminate a high infestation and often takes up to 3 weeks to completely remove. This can be stressful for both the student and the parent. If you find head lice at the low or moderate levels, complete removal can happen within 2 weeks, which is a lot less work for their families and a lot less stress for both the parents and the student.
·Reducing lost instructional time
Unfortunately, many families are still unaware that children can return to school after the first treatment. Often parents keep their children out of school for up to 2 weeks as a result. This leads to up to 10 days of lost instructional time per student. As well, parents have to take off from work to address the issue. Screening regularly gets the right information out to the parents which results in less time absent from school.
·Removing negative stigmas
There are still many myths and negative stigmas surrounding head lice. These can be easily eliminated by educating the school community. We encourage open communication with the students, parents and staff. We are there to answer any questions and provide support to families through our helpline. Schools that are screening regularly are talking about head lice often and by doing that, we are normalizing the subject and essentially making head lice a non-issue.
·Teaching preventative measures
Head lice prevention can be done. There are many simple things your school can do to prevent spreading head lice. Screening regularly gives us a chance to teach the school community basic preventative measures. One of the simplest measures is to wear long hair tied back when in school. When we are screening, we encourage children with long hair to wear their hair tied back and take the time to put their hair up for them if they wish. By taking the time to educate the children and staff, we are working towards creating a healthy school community.