Matilda: Lice, lice baby
Lice are a royal pain in the… scalp. Tiny little parasites that gleefully jump from human head to human head sucking the blood out of you.
A few years ago, I won a journalism award for a story about a huge head lice outbreak at a local elementary school and parents who were outraged because school officials didn’t notify them. Here’s another story I wrote last year about head lice at a different school. Lice is still making the rounds.
School health officials will tell you that head lice is no big deal, people exaggerate about it. Lice don’t make kids sick, they’re just a mere “nuisance.”
When my kids were young they got head lice once. Their scalps were covered with bug bites and dots of blood, and they had pesky critters crawling all over their heads. It shocked me that I had to inspect them carefully with a magnifying glass just to see the lice. They blended into their hair so well. We dealt with it, special shampoos, nitpicking, bagging all their stuffed animals, washing sheets, bedding, throwing away pillows. Gave son a crew cut. Poor daughter with her long thick, curly blonde hair. She suffered the most.
So, while head lice may be classified by health officials as a “mere nuisance,” trust me parents want to know ASAP in order to deal with it.
That brings us to today’s news from the NY Post. Page Six reports there was a head lice outbreak among the Broadway cast of Matilda, which has 16 young kids in it. Not surprising that lice has spread among this group which works closely together every day.
The best line in the Post article:
A Broadway source joked, “This is the worst outbreak Broadway has seen since the original company of ‘Hair’ got crabs.”
Another source told the Post that the outbreak has “been dealt with.” Simple words. But what they likely had to do:
– Inspect the entire cast and stage crew, adults too
– Treat cast and crew with lice shampoo, nitpick
– Toss/replace all wigs, headpieces, and headphones – places lice love to hide while waiting for a human host
– Clean/replace costumes
– Toss cushions/pillows
– Carefully clean all sofas, chairs, stage curtain, props and anything upholstered, and what about the theater seats?
Just a nuisance…