As coats and hats begin to fill school lockers, cases of head lice start to spread.
Sandra Smits, principal of Holmes Elementary School in Spring Lake, said they have not yet seen a lot of cases this year, but it’s about this time when they start to pop up.
“It grosses people out because it is bugs,” Smits said.
Shannon Felgner, communications manager for the Ottawa County Health Department, said parents should look for lice and nits, and their eggs, near ears and at the nape of their child's neck.
While dandruff can easily be mistaken for the insect, Felgner said dandruff can be easily removed, while nits are more difficult to remove from hair.
Spring Lake resident Jodi Bricker said her children have never had lice, and that’s the way she intends to keep it. Since receiving a school newsletter about lice, Bricker said she’s put gel in her sons’ hair every morning.
“They’re fine because they know what the alternative could be,” she said.
Bricker said one of her worst fears is that her short-hair sons will get lice and bring it home to her long-hair daughter, 2.
“Hopefully, we’re dodging the bullet,” Bricker said.
Since lice aren't a serious health risk — they're considered nuisances like bedbugs — Felgner said Michigan and Ottawa County do not have set policies regarding children in school who have lice.
“Schools are encouraged to utilize the manual to develop their preferred course of action,” she said.
Both Smits and Griffin Elementary School Principal Debra Mann said they notify parents by sending home a letter informing them of cases of lice at their school.
To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.