According to a concerned parent, who wrote to NineMSN’s Alex Carlton asking for advice, her neighbour won’t treat her daughter’s head lice because she’s a vegan — and vegans don’t kill living things.
Here’s the conundrum in more detail.
"My seven-year-old daughter is best friends with the girl next door, whose family are vegan. That's fine; we respect their choice… my problem is that recently this otherwise delightful child was at our house and scratching furiously, and I discovered she was crawling with head lice."
The woman goes on to write that she mentioned the lice outbreak to the child’s mum, who said she was aware of her daughter's condition but didn’t want to treat the lice traditionally as vegans don't kill living things.
She wrote, “My neighbour told me she was in the practice of combing the lice and nits into the garden where they had a chance of survival.”
Honestly, is this the craziest response to head lice you’ve ever heard?
I talk to my kids about how we should respect living creatures all the time. Just last night, my daughter and I spotted a common house spider in her bedroom and we decided that because it wasn't hurting anyone we'd leave it alone.
“But we kill mosquitos, right, Mum?” she asked me. “Because they can bite us and make us sick,” I explained.
But this theory of not killing creatures doesn’t — and shouldn't — extend to any living thing that has the potential to cause harm.
Such as, I don’t know, parasitic critters that can actually impact your child's health.
I know what it’s like to have a case of dandruff — the constant itching and scratching can drive you mental.
So I can only imagine how much suffering that little girl is experiencing with her ongoing case of head lice, which is unlikely to be rectified anytime soon.
I think it's insane to let your child suffer like that, especially as it can impact on your immune system if it's left untreated.
Furthermore, according to the University of Sydney, when head lice isn’t promptly treated it “can result in matted hair interspersed with lice, their cast skins and faeces, plus attached eggs and egg shells, and may eventually develop a putrid odour”.
I have to wonder: Would the mother leave an internal parasite infestation untreated if she discovered her child had parasites? Head lice are essentially a parasitic infection you can see, but it can cause just as much damage — physically and emotionally — as a gut infection.
At the end of the day, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but this is one decision that significantly impacts others. This child could be responsible for reinfecting other kids at school over and over again.
If I was this woman's neighbour, I would probably risk the relationship going sour in order to have a long, hard discussion about how I felt.
Or perhaps, as Alex the agony aunt suggests, I would take matters into my own hands.
“I'm tempted to suggest you set up a game of ‘hairdressers’ for the girls in the bathroom and get out the full nuclear nit arsenal,” she advises, “but I fear you'd risk upsetting the child's mother.”
Maybe the mother doesn't need to know?
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