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Dear Amy,
I tried to express the problem and the solution without making it seem schools are cesspools of infestation, even though they can be….As a health care provider I have often looked at lice (pediculosis) as a public health issue. I have come to find it as a very personal problem and concern. Children are missing school and falling behind academically and are socially ostracized either by their peers or their lack of self esteem.  Something so small multiplies and as the lice multiply so does the toll it can have on a child, family and even a school. Friends lost, lessons missed, opportunities to participate forbidden, people talking about you, not being asked to birthday parties or have a friend to eat lunch with. Despite exclusion from school, asking how you can help with the problem it just gets worse. Exclusion is not the answer, education and treatment that does no harm, is. Through the kindness of a person who saw an opportunity to help and put aside her own needs, I saw a family healed today.  It wasn’t hard, it didn’t require a doctor’s visit or an expensive prescription.  It was a pair of hands and education that healed this family. Lice do not care who you are or where you live. They don’t care what brand of shampoo you use or if your hair is clean. They want an warm scalp and blood to continue living their life and reek havoc on the humans they crawl onto and take up residence on and between hair and shafts. This morning there were tears and fears to be at school. A few hours later there were beaming smiles and a mother with tears grateful that she and her children are without lice and she has the knowledge of how to never be infested again.  This is what children need and schools need to stop the cycle of lice infestation and unnecessary absences that affect both the child and the school on many levels ~ an anonymous school nurse.
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