"Are you scratching?" is followed by the painful and tedious fine tooth-comb-out. And if this produces evidence of six-legged livestock it is quickly followed by copious applications of expensive foul-smelling lotions and multiple shampoos and rinses. Unfortunately, the process of natural selection and adaptation means that these insects have become immune to many of the products meant to kill them. Consequently these chemical concoctions probably do more harm to the child and the environment than to the louse.
As a parent it was bad enough, but as a teacher it has a whole different scale of horror. Facing the parent who has received the call to remove her lice-ridden offspring from the school is never pretty. Not that we are unkind to the child or their parent. We ooze sympathy and understanding at the same time offering advice on the many weapons of mass destruction one can use on these little suckers (the lice, not the kids).
Most parents take the whole thing resignedly and there is usually a pleasant exchange of "when I was a kid they just dunked our heads in DDT" anecdotes. The "lice just love clean hair" is often thrown in to mollify their embarrassment even though this an out and out lie. They will crawl onto any head of hair regardless of hygiene.
Some parents just can't get past the injustice of it all. "They must have caught them from some other dirty little bugger" is a frequent wail, usually delivered with venom and self-rightousness. Well, derrr, isn't that the way the little insects work? (lice not kids). Actually, that is the way the kids work, little tousled heads touching, sharing secrets and livestock in the classroom and playground.
My favourite euphemism for head lice: "racehorses" -used to describe a really well-established infestation with critters of a good turn of speed and size.
Oh dammit, my head is itching as I write. I've just been visiting the grandkids.....where is that fine toothed comb? (I'm not joking, I'm scratching like crazy here!)
Reference and picture is from :http://www.micropest.com/head-lice
"Head lice are blood sucking ectoparasites of humans, from the family of lice Pediculidae. Adult Head lice are 2.5-5mm long, They have six legs, well developed eyes, small antennae and a flattened light brown body.
Head lice are usually found towards the back of the head and above and behind the ears.
A female head lice can lay 6-8 eggs a day and may lay 300 eggs in her life span."