No one wants to talk about head lice, but in reality, they're as common as a cold.
There are an estimated 12 million cases of head lice each year in the U.S., with the number of cases spiking as kids head back to school. Lubbock Independent School district is making efforts to educate parents so this common issue doesn't become a problem.
"We remind parents and the teachers in the classroom that we do not want to share combs and brushes at all. We do not want to share blankets at nap time whether it is at home or in the daycare," said LISD health services coordinator, Micki Oates.
In fact, Texas has the most cases of head lice in the country, with more than 100,000 prescriptions written each year.
Most cases occur in children between the ages of 3 and 11. Children are particularly vulnerable during this time of year when they're around large numbers of other children.
The first sign of a child having lice is itching. School nurses then search for the lice - tiny brown insects the size of a sesame seed. Nurses say lice can lay up to 150 eggs, called "nits," at one time.
Lice spreads through head to head contact in school settings, at nap time or during sports. Lice can spread quickly, so LISD says it's vital to take care of the issue immediately once symptoms appear. So far they have seen no cases this year.
"I've been at the middle school for the last three years and really haven't seen it. It's more with your little ones. They want to love on you and be held," said Smylie Wilson Middle School nurse, Becky Geist.
The stigma is if you have lice you're dirty, however, it's the opposite. Usually lice are found in clean hair.
If a child is diagnosed, according to Texas law he or she needs to be sent home from school. Parents then use an FDA-approved treatment to kill the bugs. LISD even offers a voucher for parents who need financial help to purchase the treatment.
Parents will also need to throw away or wash any bedding or anything the child touches in hot water. Children can return to school after treatment, where nurses will examine them again.
"They can just tell their little one, oh there toys are going to go on a vacation and the child doesn't feel like they have a disease. It's not a big deal," said Geist.
VIDEO: How to check for and treat lice (Courtesy of 5min Life Videopedia)
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