With the outbreak of head lice infestation in our schools, the BBC NEWS of 10 May 2011 reported that Denbighshire parents’ plea to bring back ‘nit nurses’
According to the report,
Parents of pupils at a Denbighshire school say up to 600 people have signed a petition to bring back “nit nurses”.
Petition organizer Kelly Payne said it was a “big problem” and her own daughter had come home crying from school many times.
Website mumsnet.com said opinion on nit nurses was split among its members.
Nit nurses were a common sight in schools up until the 1980s and 1990s, when responsibility shifted to parents who use home cures for head lice
A single louse can lay dozens of eggs, called nits, in a day.
Lice cannot fly or jump and rely on hair-to-hair contact to pass from host to host, although they can be transferred by head contact with contaminated bedding or furniture.
While their bloodsucking activities do cause itching, the infestation is not dangerous, although the host’s scratching can lead to secondary infections.
The school made it clear that if there are parents who are reluctant to treat their children’s hair with home remedies for head lice, it goes very quickly from one child in a class to the whole class, and from the whole class to the school.
Parent Kelly Payne who is advocating for the return of the nit nurses said her six-year-old daughter had come home from school in the past “walking alive” with lice.
According to her
It can really give your child a bad name.
“My little girl’s come home crying plenty of times with it, and it’s not nice but kids are kids.”
The news quoted an online survey by netmums.com,which states that 88% of parents want to see nit nurses back in schools.
But Justine Roberts, co-founder of mumsnet.com which carried out the survey said:
Dealing with nits is one of the more annoying and unpleasant realities of school life but Mumsnetters are split on whether the return of the nit nurse is the answer.
“Whilst some would welcome Nitty Nora, others feel they can do the job on their own using home cures for head lice and wonder if this is the best use of scarce resources.
Some believe nit nurses were not effective, and the best treatments of head lice must be done at home with all the home cures for head lice that are available and affordable
According to Sioned Davies, a school nurse in Denbighshire, “In the past nurses have been going through dry hair.”
“Research has shown recently that going through dry hair, the lice are still able to move.
The most effective method is wet Combing of the hair with shampoo and conditioner.”
It has been recognized that routine inspections at school by a school nurse are not only ineffective at tackling head lice in the long term, but can lead to a false sense of security. But by using home cures for head lice, parent will be able to know when there is head lice infestation
The report advised that regular checking by parents, who are clearly the best-placed people to check their own children for head lice, is the most effective way of dealing with head lice infestation