Picky about lice

By Suzanne Rent

Sometimes having kids is gross. I don’t mean the kids themselves (OK, maybe on occasion). Snot, boogers, spitup, poo, vomit, and worse—parents tolerate a lot.

And sooner or later, lice will wriggle onto that list.

There’s nothing more primal than picking nits out of your kid’s hair. If you ever wondered what it’s like to be one of those Animal Planet monkeys, wait until your kid has lice. At least we don’t eat them. While they don’t spread disease, I don’t think they have any nutritional value either. 

Lice are a nuisance. A huge nuisance. And only the most diligent of work will help rid your kid and family of these parasites. But lice also bring a lot of stigma. And stigma doesn’t spread anything but ignorance.

Lice have been around as long as humans have been around. Lice are to humans what fleas are to our pets. We can’t get lice from our pets, only from other people. No one person is a carrier, but we can all be the vehicle. 

Kids are more likely than adults to get lice, but adults can get them, too. Lice don’t prefer people who are unhygienic. And lice seem to be more resistant to some of the treatments you find over the counter in your local pharmacy. That’s problematic. 

Parents will share their stories of battling lice in small circles of close friends, but never out in public because the shame surrounding having lice is still quite strong. I bet a lot of our readers have dealt with lice at least once. 

Lice don’t have to be the shameful ordeal we make it out to be. Some people with an entrepreneurial spirit have even found a way to make a business out of nitpicking and helping families deal with lice. Learn more about their work and the misconceptions of lice here. 

I have heard all the stereotypes about people who get lice: they are dirty, lazy, or of a certain socio-economic status. This is not only untrue, but a terrible and mean way to categorize and treat people. 

So, let’s be more understanding, helpful, and patient with families who have to deal with this parasite. You’re a lucky parent if you’ve not yet among them.