In a tropical country like the Philippines, head lice infestation is a common problem especially among school-aged children. In a study by the Department of Education and the University of the Philippines last year, pediculosis (lice infestation) is the second most common problem among students after tooth decay.
In 2000, it was estimated that around 9 million students or 84 percent of the total public school children population in Metro Manila and in some provinces, were carriers of head lice. Pediculosis or “kuto” affects children aged 7 to 12 years. Students from Southern Tagalog and Western Visayas were found to have the largest number of pupils affected by head lice.
Head lice are tiny parasites that bite the scalp and feed on human blood. According to the US National Library of Medicine, lice can survive on human head for up to 30 days. Their eggs or what is called nits, hatch after nine days and the larvae mature after another nine days.
The bites from lice can cause severe scalp itching and in some cases red bumps on the scalp. Lice infestation is easily transferred through personal contact. While it is not considered as a serious condition, the social stigma attached to this condition is uncomfortable to many.
Head lice affects children’s performance in school and creates social stigma against those with this condition. The problem has greatly concerned education officials that the DepEd launched a program to address the problem in 2000 by giving out anti-lice treatment.
No matter how biting this problem is, there are simple ways to avoid being infected by these bloodsuckers: (1) Tell your kids to avoid sharing hairbrushes, hats, hair bands, or any hair accessories to other children, (2) Inspect your child’s head regularly and look for lice or nits. If you find any that is already a sign for you to act immediately to avoid the lice from multiplying. (3) Practice proper hygiene like regularly using shampoo and conditioner to wash your child’s hair. (4) It is also important for you to teach your kids to be aware of the signs of lice infestation like itching of the scalp.
There are a number of treatments for head lice. You may consult your family physician for the best treatment as there are products that contain insecticide and may be harmful to your child. One product in the market that many moms recommend is Licealiz, a head lice treatment shampoo with conditioning formula manufactured by Lamoiyan Corporation.
Licealiz is non-toxic and is safe to use regularly even for young children. Using it often keeps lice from coming back. Unlike other brands, Licealiz’s active ingredient, pyrethrin, is all natural and extracted from chrysanthemum flowers. It not only makes your child’s hair smell good, it also nourishes and make the hair grow healthier. – Cher Jimenez