Back-to-school time for head lice

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SHERMAN, TX - With some schools already in session and other students preparing to return to class, health officials want to remind parents of a health problem that seems to rear its ugly head this time of year. Jalah Gray talked to the experts about just how serious head lice can be, h ow to prevent the spread, and how you can get rid of the pesky bugs.

Parent Cissy Oldner says the warning signs are obvious.

"She was scratching her scalp. If your kids start scratching, you're infested with it."

Hairdresser Garrett Patton says it happens to just about everyone at some point.

"It happens to everybody, I mean everybody I know has had head lice at one point in time."

And yet it's still a social stigma dealing with head lice. When it comes to these annoying critters, misconceptions continue to confuse and embarrass parents, which mother of three Cissy Oldner says is just ridiculous.

"It was so rampant in my girls' elementary school, which is an exemplary, very good elementary school, and nobody would talk about it," Oldner says.

Getting head lice is commonly associated with being uncleanly. Pediatrician Ted Hayes says this is definitely not true.

"Well first of all parents need to relax. Having head lice is not an indication of personal hygiene," Dr. Hayes says.

Dr. Hayes says there are several options to treat lice. Prescription medications will kill the bugs and the nits, but if you decide to go with a drug store product, he says they aren't always as effective.

"If you use a lot of the over-the-counter medications, because they're weaker you have to combine that with combing to get rid of the nits because the eggs aren't always killed every time."

If you're worried about chemicals in traditional lice treatments, experts say there are some natural alternatives.

Hair dresser Garret Patton prefers a more natural approach that's a bit cheaper. He says he's dealt with the pesky bugs numerous times.

"Well my mom always told me to use olive oil. It's smothers the nits and the live lice. It's a little bit difficult to get out, but it's also good for somebody who doesn't have the money for rid or nix."

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