Imagine discovering head lice on your child while you’re 35,000 feet in the air. Then imagine getting kicked off your flight because of it. That is what happened to Sports Analyst, Clay Travis and his family while traveling home from a family vacation in Paris. Travis turned to his website to write about the incident.
Clay Travis’s Website
He said that during their trip, they gave their three children regular baths and combed their hair and they never saw any signs of head lice.
“Until, that is, halfway over the Atlantic Ocean when my six year old son needed to go the bathroom. While he was standing in line for the bathroom, my six year old started to scratch his head. My wife checked to see why he was scratching his head and saw then that he had lice. Several flight attendants rushed over too and peered down at my son’s head. ‘Oh, my God, he has lice,’ they said.”
That’s when Travis’s wife came over to tell him about what had just happened. Travis and his wife knew where the lice came from because their children had been around cousins a few weeks ago who had lice. They used over-the-counter treatments as a precaution after playing with the cousins but apparently, it did not work.
She informed her husband that flight attendants told her that when the plane lands in Minneapolis for their connecting flight, the Travis family wouldn’t be allowed to leave the plane because their six-year-old has head lice. That seemed strange to Travis so he went online to find any policies about lice from the airline. He couldn’t find any specifics about Delta Airlines and head lice but he did come across head lice information from the CDC.
What The CDC Says About Head Lice
“Including the fact that the CDC recommends that kids no longer be sent home from school if they have lice.” This is what he found:
“Students diagnosed with live head lice do not need to be sent home early from school; they can go home at the end of the day, be treated, and return to class after appropriate treatment has begun. Nits may persist after treatment, but successful treatment should kill crawling lice.
Head lice can be a nuisance but they have not been shown to spread disease. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) advocate that “no-nit” policies should be discontinued. “No-nit” policies that require a child to be free of nits before they can return to schools should be discontinued for the following reasons:
Many nits are more than ¼ inch from the scalp. Such nits are usually not viable and very unlikely to hatch to become crawling lice, or may in fact be empty shells, also known as ‘casings’.
Nits are cemented to hair shafts and are very unlikely to be transferred successfully to other people.
The burden of unnecessary absenteeism to the students, families and communities far outweighs the risks associated with head lice.
Misdiagnosis of nits is very common during nit checks conducted by nonmedical personnel.”
He goes on to write about what a frustrating hassle the whole situation was. They were not able to fly home on their scheduled flight and his son was humiliated because he felt like it was his fault.
We are not taking a position on who is right or wrong but it may be worthwhile to bring your child to our clinic for a head check before boarding a plane, to avoid any possible hassle such as what the Travis family went through.
This situation may have been a result of a lack of head lice education. First, Clay Travis and his wife had no idea that over-the-counter treatments don’t work anymore and second, the flight attendants didn’t seem to know much about head lice and they acted out of fear like many do when discovering head lice. If we make lice education a norm in our society, parents might be able to better handle lice infestations.