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Lice are everywhere: 'Highly contagious' cases up 30 percent nationwide

Lice are everywhere: 'Highly contagious' cases up 30 percent nationwide

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BY ADAM FORGIE, KUTV

SALT LAKE CITY (CIRCA via KUTV) — Lice cases are up by an average of 30 percent nationwide this winter.

That's according to Salt Lake City-based Lice Clinics of America which operates 330 lice clinics across the country.

Lice Clinics of America compared data from those clinics from January 2018 with data from January 2019 to discover the 30 percent rise in lice cases.

Lice are highly contagious.

“Head-to-head contact with an already infested person is the most common way to get head lice," the CDC states. "Head-to-head contact is common during play at school, at home and elsewhere, such as sports activities, the playground, slumber parties, and camps.”

Some areas, such as Seattle-Tacoma and Southwest Louisiana saw increases of 80 percent or greater.

“If you have school-age children in a region where lice infestations have been reported, it’s important to take some immediate steps to either prevent your children from being infested or properly treat and kill the lice before they spread to others in your family and social group," Dr. Krista Lauer, medical director of Lice Clinics of America said. “First, don’t panic, and second, don’t be embarrassed. Those pesky lice have nothing to do with personal hygiene.”

Lauer recommends the following steps to make sure lice aren’t living in your child’s hair:

  • Inspect your child’s head at home, especially if your child has an itchy scalp. Look for eggs, nymphs and adult lice. One adult louse can lay about 100 eggs during her life span. That’s a lot of new lice.
  • Call the parents of your child’s friends and have them check for head lice, remembering that earlier intervention can help to reduce the infestation level.
  • If you see lice — or if you are unsure whether you have lice — visit a professional lice treatment center, such as Lice Clinics of America.
  • Remember, traditional over-the-counter treatments contain pesticides that are no longer effective. Lice have evolved into “super lice” and have developed resistance to those pesticides. Find a treatment that is safe and effective. Lice Clinics of America has many from which to choose.
  • Be safe this season by starting your child on a lice prevention regimen using trusted lice prevention products such as shampoos, conditioners, sprays and hair bands that will help to keep lice away from your child’s scalp.

“Lice Clinics of America has a unique opportunity to gather its data to help identify trends. We believe we can attribute the increase in lice infestation bookings and treatments in our clinics to three things,” said Lice Clinics of America CEO Claire Roberts. “First, it’s a fact that many over-the-counter products are no longer effective in treating the “super lice” of today, so people are seeking professional help. Second, there is a true lack of understanding by the public on the life cycle of lice and how they spread. And third, people are becoming increasingly aware of the more effective, technologically-advanced treatment methods offered by Lice Clinics of America.”

You can buy a lice treatment kit here.

The CDC estimates 6 million to 12 million infestations occur each year in the U.S. among children 3 to 11 years of age.

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