Reports of lice activity increasing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 5, 2020

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Lice Clinics of America in Louisiana, part of Lice Clinics of America (LCA) saw a 47 percent increase of lice activity in Lafayette and Lake Charles and a 54 percent increase in Monroe from April to May of this year. Infestations in entire families have been more severe during the pandemic, due to the fact that families are isolating together.

“We were deemed an essential business, so we were able to stay open,” says Shanna Castille, owner of the three clinics in Louisiana. “We followed all safety protocols and all of our staff were able to stay healthy.”

To ensure staff and clientsafety, clientsare vetted on the phone about possible COVID-19 contact. Once arriving, clients had their temperature taken at the clinic door and are asked the same questions about COVID-19 again. Two of the clinics have individual treatment rooms, so families were able to be separated while they were being treated. In West Monroe, due to the building layout, clients were limited to one family at a time.

“One thing that we noticed is that more people in one family were coming in at a time,” says Castille. “A family of five would come in with at least four members with lice. The lice have been spreading throughout the extended family more than to friends because families have been quarantining together.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Head-to-head contact with an already infested person is the most common way to get head lice. Head-to-head contact is common during play at school, at home and elsewhere, such as sports activities, the playground, slumber parties and camps.” The CDC estimates 6-12 million infestations occur each year in the U.S. among children 3-11 years of age.

Dr. Krista Lauer, LCA Medical Director states, “If you have children who are elementary and middle-school ages, it’s important to take some immediate steps to either prevent your children from being infested or to properly treat and kill the lice before they spread to others in your family and social group.”

Dr. Lauer says, “First, don’t panic and second, don’t be embarrassed. A head lice infestation has nothing to do with personal hygiene or the cleanliness of your environment. In fact, with recent shelter-in-place orders, head lice infestations more easily spread to everyone in the household due to close proximity.” To make sure there is no lice in your child’s hair, she recommends inspecting your own head and your child’s, especially if your child has an itchy scalp. Look for eggs, nymphs and adult lice; call the parents of your child’s friends and have them check for head lice. Remember early intervention can help to reduce the infestation level. With restrictions lifting, kids are incloser contact once more; if you see (or suspect) lice, visit a professional lice treatment center such as LCA for screening; over-the-counter treatments contain ineffective pesticides, to which lice have developed resistance.

For more information visit Lice Clinics of America (owned by Larada Sciences™, Inc.) is the largest network of professional head lice treatment centers in the world.