It's a difficult thing, working in a small community and handling such an emotionally charged issue like head lice. I have treated many clients from my own community and each time, they ask me, "You won't tell anyone, will you?" Of course I never mention the name of any client who has used my service to another client. Ever. Sometimes a client who has spoken to a friend will tell me they know someone who has been to see me. I always politely explain that much like Vegas, what happens at in my office, stays atin my office.
Sometimes I wish that people didn't feel so compelled to keep their lice issue a secret. Many of my clients fear the social ramifications their children (and themselves) and therefore avoid notifying everyone they should. If we could take the stigma out of head lice infestation, we could truly make an impact on the spread of head lice. Imagine if getting a phone call from a friend or neighbor informing you that their child has lice felt the same to you as hearing their kid has strep or a stomach virus. Sadly, people react far worse to the news that their child has been exposed to head lice than they do to the news that their precious progeny have been exposed to contagious illnesses.
I'll concede that head lice are gross. I mean, who really wants a bug crawling on their head, or worse yet on their child's head? It seems like something that shouldn't happen in such an advanced society, doesn't it? It seems more likely that this is something that would happen in an underdeveloped country where they don't have our technology and resources. I think it's natural to have an aversion to bugs crawling on your head. Thing is, if you want to be able to count on finding out when your kids have been exposed to a friend who has had lice, you need to make it comfortable for the parent of that child to report it to you.
Three years ago when everyone in my house (save my husband...dads almost always get the "bye") had lice, I stood patiently outside the school waiting for my son to emerge. As the kids in his class came out of the school with big black Hefty bags, parents started buzzing, "ooh...someone in Mrs. Jackson's class has lice!" they mused. "I wonder who it IS!" they posited. I listened for a few minutes before blurting out, "IT WAS MY SON! And ME TOO!! We ALL had lice this weekend!" They all quieted down and stopped chattering. I either scared them or maybe they realized that it wasn't the end of the world. I had already sent an email to every person I knew informing them over the weekend. I wanted all of my son's friends to be checked so that no one would re-infest my kid. It was selfish really.
So, while I never tell anyone who I've treated, I implore all of my families to inform everyone they can. In the end, your best hope for not becoming re-infested is to notify as wide a circle as you can so that anyone to whom you may have passed it can be checked and/or treated.