As children return to school in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic, it is possible that the treatment and perception of head lice may shift. Head lice have traditionally been seen as an unwelcome, irritating bug that grows like wildfire among children and their parents, as well as school health professionals.
Could COVID-19 Measures Help To Reduce The Stigma?
However, as per the National Education association Nurses, new safety precautions put in place to control the spread to COVID-19 are overturning those assumptions. Because of these safety precautions, lice are less likely to be transmitted, and nurse educators are hopeful that the number of cases will be reduced this year.
Students no longer sit on top of one another on the floor, according to Linda Mendonça, head of the National Education association Nurses. “We have social distance and a lot of cleanliness,” she said. “They’re attempting to keep the children apart.
” These activities demonstrate that, contrary to common perception, lice must come into intimate touch with one another in order to propagate. They are unable to fly or leap; instead, they can only crawl. And, according to Mendonça, they are more likely to be transmitted via acts such as sharing a hairbrush.
Moreover, new pandemic procedures are whittling away at the societal stigma, demonstrating that measures that could have stigmatized children were unneeded. Typically, when a kid is discovered to have head lice, he or she is picked out and made to leave class, according to Mendonça.
After calling the parent or guardian, the majority of schools refused to let the kid back until the problem was resolved. That gave the impression that it was a “very terrible thing.”
“Ending such kinds of behaviors, I believe, will contribute to a reduction in stigma,” Mendonça said. “Of course, you should treat it because it is essential, but it is not this terrible disease,” says the doctor.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the head louse is a parasitic insect that attaches itself to hair, eyebrows, or even eyelashes, causing irritation and itching.
They are known to feed on human blood. However, they are not known to transmit illnesses and are known to die within one to two days after being removed from the body.
The National Association of School Nurses, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have all advocated for the abolition of outdated practices such as whole-classroom screenings, excluding children from class, and widespread notification outside of parents and guardians.
According to the organization, these behaviors disrupt children’s education and contribute to increased absenteeism. In Mendonça’s words, “it is simply dealing with the stigma associated with it that we are truly attempting to accomplish.”
There are a variety of options for getting rid of lice, including over-the-counter medicines, home treatments, and even companies that specialize in the removal of lice. The official public health advice is to use over-the-counter medications. According to Mendonça, if an adult or kid has head lice, they would have an itchy scalp, although they will not need to miss work or school as a result of the infestation.