Pinworms, lice: Would you lie if truth embarrassed your child?

A recent episode of “The New Adventure of Old Christine” showed Christine’s middle-school age son being blamed for starting an epidemic of lice at his fancy private school.

It got me thinking, if you found out your child had lice would you:

A: Notify the school?

B. Keep him home, treat the lice but tell the teacher he had a fever, cold or some other mild illness, and never tell the school he had it?

What about pinworms — an absolutely disgusting, yet really common thing that kids pick up and spread especially at school? Would you admit to the teacher or to the school nurse that your child has worms crawling out of his bottom?

Would you admit to your boss if they were crawling out of your bottom? What about if you needed time off for a vasectomy? Or what about hemorrhoids?

If it’s not something you would want to tell your boss about you, should it be something you tell your child’s teacher or school?

What do you think: Are white lies OK if it keeps your child from being embarrassed? Have you told any white lies for your child? What were the circumstances? Have you ever admitted to pinworms or lice?

41 comments Add your comment

JJ

May 6th, 2009
7:34 am

I cannot tell you how many times the elementary school called regarding lice. It’s not that big of a deal. You buy the stuff, put it in their hair, wash it out, and go back to school. I bought stock in lice medicine…..ha ha

For some reason lice is very rampant in elementary schools, and not as much in middle school, and I have not heard of any in high school.

It got so bad, I had to bag up my daughter’s entire room to get rid of the problem. She had lice so often I ended up putting all her stuffed animals, pillows, etc into garbage bags and put everything in the garage for a month.

Once, the school called because she had lice, and it was the third day of the school year. I could not believe it. They ended up having to fumigate the entire school.

All I can say, is I am so glad those days are OVER!!!

Becky

May 6th, 2009
8:52 am

I’m with JJ, most of the cases that I’ve heard of this is always elementary schools..My nieces had it in middle school(mid 80’s) was told by the Dr. that part of it was caused by all of the hair spray that they used and because they would use anyones hairbrush..

Just last week, a note was sent home to my nephew saying that someone in his kids school has lice and that they need to be checking their kids..Nothing major, treat it and go on with life..Now they have a spray that you can buy to treat the house instead of having to bleach everything..

Becky

May 6th, 2009
9:26 am

Oops, I really didn’t answer the question..Yes, I would tell a white lie on something like this..Of course the only thing is, at this age you usually don’t have to..Kids this age aren’t easily embarrassed, this age is when they are full of honesty and innocence (sp)…

Jesse's Girl

May 6th, 2009
9:41 am

Um…yes. If I or one of my children had worms crawling out of our butts…I’D NEVER SAY A WORD!!!! No one needs to know that. ONe of our daughters is currently home sick…fever and the normal yucks she gets around this time every year. She’s actually fine today…just keeping her out to make sure the fever is really gone. However….her well-meaning teacher announced in front of the class( as she was sending her to the office to go home on Monday) that me or Jesse should get her tested for the freakin swine flu!!! I am so sick of this pig flu talk!!!! I didn’t even take her to the doc….this happens every year and with the Tylenol/Ibuprofen bombs I have been dropping on her…she’s fine. Besides…I would rather not part with $25 so they can tell me that its a virus and there’s nothing they can do. I already know that. So….my lie for the week will happen tomorrow when she goes back to school. I will likely blame her absense on an allergy/bladder infection combo. She actually does have an active bladder infection. Either that or I will say “NOT TO WORRY Y’ALL!!!! ITS NOT THE SWINE FLU…..ITS THE ELEPHANT FLU….SO EVERYTHING’S GOOD!”

Meme

May 6th, 2009
10:00 am

Jesse, it was terrible for the teacher to say that to your child in front of the class. I apologize on behalf of all teachers.

Stacey

May 6th, 2009
10:18 am

Be it a “white lie” of lie of omission, if it’s something that is not going to effect anyone else (such as hemmroids or a vasectomy)then it is no one else’s business. You were sick, end of story, that’s all anyone needs to know.

On the otherhand, if it is something contagious or can otherwise be passed to other kids (such as lice or ringworm) then I think you should tell the school so they can try to get a handle on it before it spreads. I remember periodic lice inspections when I was in elementary school but I never had it. I was told that black people’s hair (I’m black) did not provide a suitable environment for the lice to reproduce. I’m not claiming it to be medical fact, it’s just what I was always told.

My son had ringworms in his head when he was in daycare. His hair is thick and curly so I didn’t realize it until his hair started falling out. By then he had five ranging from smaller than a dime to silver dollar size. He had to use an oral fungicide, ointment and two different shampoos for about 6 months to clear it up. His doctor said he probably picked it up or even spread it at daycare because they often played dress up and used props like firemen & police hats. I spread it throught his head when I brushed his hair. Fortunately, neither my husband nor I got it despite sharing combs and brushes.

DB

May 6th, 2009
10:19 am

Re: Lice. Yes, I’d tell the school nurse. Good grief, it’s not that big a deal. And if you were a parent of one of your child’s schoolmates, wouldn’t YOU want to be aware that you needed to be extra-careful checking for lice? Sheesh.

Anything else: If it’s a pubic health issue, then discreet disclosure to the school nurse is morally required. The school nurse deserves to know and prepare if she might end up with some sort of epidemic on her hands. If it’s not, then it’s no one else’s business. I’d say “no” on pinworms. Pinworms are so rampant, that even if you reported it, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it, except to step up the hygiene for you and yours. Basically, the entire school would have to be treated, and even then, if their families aren’t treated, it’s just going to come back. It’s not a white lie — it’s a refusal to tell. There’s a difference. The whole world doesn’t need to know your business. Simply say, “treatment for a parasitic infection”, and that’s that. Most people will assume the child picked up a case of ghiardhia, or something.

JG, you’re daughter’s teacher is an idiot. Sorry. :-(

Stacey

May 6th, 2009
10:36 am

For the record, I felt like the worst mother in the world when my son had ringworm. I thought the doctor, school, strangers, etc would think he was neglected because they had spread so bad and looked so nasty by the time I caught it. Turns out (according to his doctor) that it is fairly common in kids and he saw it worse and often but it would have been easier to cure if caught sooner. Several of my coworkers said their kids also had it at one time or another. It taught me a lesson about judging people because had it seen it on a kid I didn’t know, I would have been screaming for DFACS intervention.

Becky

May 6th, 2009
11:01 am

Stacey, I had heard the same thing about black people’s hair not suitable to getting lice..A coworker (black) said that it’s a combo of the natural oils and the oils that some black use on their hair..She said that it gives the lice no place to nest and settle in..

Sorry that you felt like a bad mother for you son getting ringworms..Some things you just can’t stop..I recall having ringworms as a child, not sure how my Mother treated them..I don’t remember going to the Dr.

Jesses Girl, you are a hoot..Love the elephant flu..In reading your post on here, I’m pretty sure that you would go in and say this to the teacher..

FCM

May 6th, 2009
11:42 am

Theresa, did you see the Newsweek Articel (5/4) about the Principal and the Paddle?

It would make a fantastic topic.

momtoAlex&Max

May 6th, 2009
12:27 pm

If it’s something contagious, like lice, the school needs to know.

If not, then just “sick” should cover it.

Stacey

May 6th, 2009
1:18 pm

Thanks Becky! I remember having one ringworm as a child and my mother treated it with Desinex (athlete’s foot cream). Growing up, we only went to the doctor if our fever was over 103, broken bones or gaping wound requiring stitches! LOL

My son required such extensive ringworm treatment because his had spread and the largest one was infected. Fortunately, I had really good insurance because just my out of pocket costs on the medicines and shampoos was $125/mth. It’s been five years and I still inspect his scalp periodically and I examine him closely with the slightest hint of an itch. They aren’t hard to spot on other parts of the body but they can really hide well in a thick head of hair!

Jesse's Girl

May 6th, 2009
1:46 pm

Is ring worm an actual worm??? I thought it was just a skin issue….like a rash.

sd

May 6th, 2009
1:53 pm

I never had lice as a kid and so far my son hasn’t either. I had one cousin who got it, but I thought that was because they lived in the sticks and because they were rather dirty. If my son got lice, I’d shave his head.

Never even heard of pinworms, but that is disgusting.

I did get a vasectomy and I told everyone about it. Made sure everyone in the office knew. Its not like I could hide it anyway. Its much more painful than anyone lets on and you walk funny for a week or two. Its difficult to even sit. People will know somethings not right down there. Better to say vasectomy than any of the other things that could cause you to walk like that.

Jesse's Girl

May 6th, 2009
2:04 pm

A vasectomy is no walk in the park, I’ll grant ya. However…..when compared to the “giving-birth-to-satan” sensation most of us women feel while in labor….the “healing” period afterward…and the short hospital stay we endure to tie our tubes in a knot that even the cast of Deadliest Catch couldn’t untie…..it ain’t so bad:)

Stacey

May 6th, 2009
2:08 pm

Jessie’s Girl- Ringworm is a fungus that causes a ring shaped rash. The rash is spread by touching an infected area. The outer edges of the rash can sometime drain pus and if it does, another “ring” will form where the infected pus lands. In cases such as my son’s where the infection is in the head, it can easily be spread to other family members by sharing combs & brushes or hats. Little boys are notorious for sharing baseball caps and sometimes that’s all it takes. Although I try to drill in my son’s head not to do that, just last night at cub scouts he and his little friend were walking around wearing each other’s cap.

momtoAlex&Max

May 6th, 2009
2:16 pm

Vasectomies: oh dear lord don’t get me STARTED on the DRAH-MAH! that this was in our house. I almost had to tape my eyes shut to keep from rolling them right out of my head.

In the meantime, I had given birth (TWICE), gotten stiches (TWICE), breast-fed (TWICE) and gone through all the fun of pregnancy weight gain, nausea, hemorroids, stretch marks, and varicose veins (TWICE). I really didn’t want to hear about how much pain he was in. But I was a good little wifey, gave him his ice, took his meals to the bedroom where he rested for two days straight and took care of the two kids until he was fully recovered. Sigh.

sd

May 6th, 2009
2:25 pm

Ladies, its not a contest. If it was, you’d win. I was just saying that it hurt and it wasn’t something you could lie about.

Jesse's Girl

May 6th, 2009
2:32 pm

Oh we know….but its Mother’s Day week….let us have our fun:)

Becky

May 6th, 2009
2:41 pm

sd, you don’t have to shave your sons head if he were to get lice..You just go to the store, buy the shampoo and wash it out..One treatment will usually take care of it, then spray everything in the house down with the spray they have now..

Not sure how long or all the details about your “V”, but when my ex had his, it’s was no big deal..Was out of work for one day, went back to work the next day, then 2 days later off to play golf..

sd

May 6th, 2009
2:55 pm

Becky, wish I’d gone to your husbands doctor.

Nadia

May 6th, 2009
3:35 pm

Note to self: next time, do not read about pinworms and such while eating.

Nadia

May 6th, 2009
3:35 pm

No, I would not lie about something that was contagious, like lice.

Joel in ATL

May 6th, 2009
3:40 pm

And we wonder why things spread and people get sick, a little “white lie” that was told could have caused a bigger issue had the truth just been told straight out. Lice, ringworms etc no matter if it can be treated over the counter or under the knife whats the big deal telling adminstration and let them handle it on the professional level, if they don’t then take issue with it but don’t put other kids at risk because if your child got sick/infected because a parent didn’t handle the issue with their child in an adult manner you would then be upset..right? Were human and things happen, we worry more about what people think and how they preceive us that it clouds our better judgement. When it comes to my health I could care less what another person thinks I would rather have my child healthy and embrassed than unembrassed and unhealthy easy. As far as my boss I’d tell them I’m having a medical procedure done that wil require me to be out a couple of weeks and leave it at that. If they press me to know then I’d tell them I’m doing what iot take to not have kds anymore or whatever in clever laughable manner and let them deal with it. Everybody was picked at in school but you got over it, same at the office you know people talk about you behind your back, period, truth or not, but you get over it and if you can’t then you need to talk with yourself in the mirror. Peer Pressure is real and people don’t want to believe it but it is but when it comes to my health and my childs health screw what another person thinks.

Jen

May 6th, 2009
3:45 pm

Yes, I would tell the school – it’s a public health issue.

My son recently DID have lice. We treated him with Nix, took the opportunity to give him a mohawk (he’d been wanting one anyway), and told the school.

It’s not a huge deal. It’s possible for lice to carry trench-fever and typhus, but that’s pretty rare. Mostly, it’s just uncomfortable…and if not caught early it’s hard to get rid of.

In other words, it’s a hassle. We did the Nix, treated ourselves, too, just to be sure. Then washed all the linens, including pillows and comfortors, and featherbeds, in hot water and then in the hot dryer.

It’s worth it to tell the school so that other parents can avoid going through that hassle.

As for embarrassment…I’ve got a BOY. Are you kidding? He went around telling everyone he got to get a mohawk because he had lice.

And if he had something crawling out of his butt? He’s ARLREADY obsessed with potty humor. This would just give him ammunition.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

May 6th, 2009
3:57 pm

Nadia — I tried to find a photo I could use — You wouldn’t believe how many photos there are online of pinworms literally crawling out of people’s anuses — and it’s a photo!!! didn’t think my bosses would like me posting those!! also wouldn’t have helped your lunch!

Jennifer

May 6th, 2009
4:05 pm

I had no idea what pinworms were until I Googled it. The first thing that came up was a picture – GROSS! That is terrible.

Douglas

May 6th, 2009
4:20 pm

To momtoAlex&Max

I had my Vasectomie three years ago. It was NO BIG DEAL. I got some strong pain meds, spent two days on the couch then went back to work.

momtoAlex&Max

May 6th, 2009
4:27 pm

Douglas: I strongly suspected that he was milking it. Now I know for sure. This was a few years ago, so we’ve moved on!

Lulu

May 6th, 2009
4:28 pm

No amount of paint or white out can render a lie WHITE. It is one of the 10 commandments we are forbidden to committ along with killing, stealing, adultry, etc. We have a constitutional amendment (5th) to protect us from being forced to lie to the law. That does not mean we must tell all we know. Use “Excuse me?!!” (obvious indignation and disbelief that a rude question has been asked) or broad non-informative, generalization when asked prying questions by demanding morons.

Sue

May 6th, 2009
4:59 pm

Lulu, chill out! What about planning a surprise party or something like that? You might have to lie about it but it is not hurting anyone and I’m sure God would be OK with it.

xavier&jaydens mom

May 6th, 2009
5:00 pm

My oldest son had a problem with ringworm. I was at my wits end, nothing I was using seemed to work. My husband is from Louisiana and they always have some “back wood” method of handling things! He suggested putting BLEACH!! of all things in my sons head, said it would kill it!! I’m sure! It probably would have burned his scalp off! The pharmacist suggested Lotrmin, and that seemed to work. I too was very embarrassed, and thought for sure someone was going to think we were neglecting our child. I did inform his teacher, as well as his after school provider. We constantly changed the linens on their bed, and instead of washing his hair every other day, now wash it everyday. We’ve been ringworm free for about a year now, but I still check him periodically. His had gotten so bad, the barber refused to cut his hair! It was just a mess!!

Stan

May 6th, 2009
5:00 pm

I had the snip done ~13 years ago and it was no big deal. I had an office job at the time, worked that morning, I even stopped by the office on my way home. The worst part by far was the “local” injection to numb the area.

Of course we KNEW that we would not want kids…now ~13 years later we both want kids, so I need to start looking into reversals.

And worms out the anus?!?! maybe I don’t need to look at reversals…lol

Jesse's Girl

May 6th, 2009
5:32 pm

Reversals are a whole different ball game. You may be better off with having them aspirate the little guys and then do invitro…..my BFF had to have this done.

Texas Pete

May 6th, 2009
5:33 pm

I once caught crabs from a girl and was so PO’d i had sex with three more girls before I had it treated.

Lulu

May 6th, 2009
5:39 pm

Sue, It can still be done without lying. Have done many times. How often have you been asked, “Are you planning a surprise party for me?”
Lying has become a national pastime yet we get all bent out of shape when politicians or friends do it to us. I don’t presume to speak for God.

Sue

May 6th, 2009
5:58 pm

I actually have been asked that question!! It’s perfectly OK to tell a white lie about it. Yes, it is a lie but nothing bad is going to happen because of it and no religious morals will be threatened.

motherjanegoose

May 6th, 2009
6:24 pm

My two have never had any of the above ailments…probably just luck.
I abhor lying….I put up with other shortcomings ( and am certainly not perfect myself) but isn’t this kind of like:

If no one fesses up to it and we all stick out heads in the sand then maybe no one will notice that there really is a problem? Kinda like the banks who ****had no idea they were taking on credit risks**** or public officials who ….deny they were involved in a particular activity….only to be proven wrong.

This is a pattern and one I do not want to represent to my children. They know I fail in lots of areas but I do not lie ( surprise parties are an exception….LOL).

If you KNEW that a child at your school had the swine flu and the parents just kept the student home and actually took him to the doctor ( for treatment) but did not tell anyone…would you not be upset?

I know many are without religious convictions but for me, it boils down to …could I actually look God in the face and say….”I am sure that you understand, I had to tell that little white lie….” Just me and I realize that not everyone else shares my opinion.

Jesse's Girl

May 6th, 2009
6:51 pm

OK…..the REGULAR flu kills thousands upon thousands every year….in our own country. I don’t take out an ad in the school paper when one of my children comes down with that….and its cellular structure changes constantly!!! This Swine Flu has a psychological component that is far more dangerous than the actual virus. As with Y2K and every “predicted” second coming of Christ…..its a bit subjective, don’t ya think?

Wlhslxjo

June 22nd, 2009
2:38 pm

UPzsOe comment2 ,

gracegirl

June 9th, 2010
9:08 pm

so i am a 5th grade student and i have had lice twice. it’s really annoying and embarrasing…really if your not a kid like me you wouldn’t know how i feel! twice my mom didnt notify the school. she understood my feelings. i remeber one time when the school checked for lice three people in my class got it and the teacher announced it to the whole class. that was before i got lice. my mom just kept me home and said we were on vacation…..i think from the person who had lice’s perspective is that there’s really no need to do that and what us kids call “ruin”
our lives…