HEALTHY LYF: Lice infestation is rampant among Filipino students

Did you know that as many as 9 million Filipino school children were found to have head lice in year 2000? At the time, that represented 84 percent of the population of public school children in Metro Manila and some provinces. This was found by a study conducted by the Department of Education and the University of the Philippines. It’s such a big problem that head lice are considered the second biggest health concern among students, 7 to 12 years of age, after tooth decay.

In year 2014, with a bigger population of school children, the likelihood of spreading lice infestation among students is greater. And since our tropical climate worsens the itch we feel in our scalps, more students find themselves scratching their heads, and possibly transferring lice and nits or lice eggs (kuto and lisa) from their fingernails to their friends’, playmates’ and classmates’ hair and personal belongings including combs and hair accessories, and even school, PE, and sports uniforms, as well as jackets and sweaters. Students who go to sleepovers may catch lice from shared pillows and linen.

School is one place where students have close physical contact for an extended period of time. This means more opportunities to catch lice from one another. School children with lice are usually exposed to social stigma and shame—and you don’t want your child to go through that. Fortunately, there are several steps that a parent can take to prevent, control, and eliminate lice infestation. These include:

Teaching kids proper hygiene habits

These habits include regular washing of hair with shampoo and conditioner. Kids should also be taught to avoid, as much as possible, borrowing personal items of their friends and classmates.

Signs and symptoms

Teach your kids that an itchy scalp could be a sign that they have a lice infestation and that they should let you know about it immediately. Other symptoms include a tickling feeling on the hair and scalp, which could be the lice moving around; irritability and difficulty sleeping; red bumps on the scalp, neck, or shoulders; sores that develop due to repeated scratching of the scalp; and small white objects on the hair that are difficult to brush away—they need to be removed by a fine-toothed comb or with fingers—are likely nits.

Keeping clothes and linen lice-free

Lice and nits need just the right temperature—the same temperature as a human scalp—in order to survive. Washing clothes, blankets and other bed linen in hot water will kill lice and nits that are left on them. Make doubly sure by setting the dryer on high heat. In the case of fabrics that are too sensitive for regular washing, dry cleaning is an option that will also kill lice and nits. Personal items that cannot be washed may be sealed inside plastic bags for two weeks—lice and nits do not survive long away from the scalp and they will die within this period.

Keeping the house clean

Regular vacuuming and cleaning in the house, especially of the floor and furniture that has come in contact with a lice-infested person, will help reduce the chances of lice infestation in the house.

Choose an effective and safe head lice treatment shampoo

LiceAliz is proven safe and effective when it comes to eliminating head lice in children and adults. It kills lice using a natural ingredient made from chrysanthemum flowers called pyrethrin. It’s so easy and convenient to use: just apply, lather, and rinse like regular shampoo. Leave on hair for about 10 minutes before rinsing. Use it twice a week for two weeks. After that, use it once a week to prevent head lice from coming back. Follow the label instructions for best results.

There’s even a LiceAliz variant with conditioner for softer, smoother, healthier hair. Another variant has menthol for a cool, refreshing feeling on the scalp. LiceAliz is safe to use on children as young as two years old. One other advantage of LiceAliz over other brands is its price, which is more than 50 percent, lower compared to others. LiceAliz is readily available at drugstores and department stores nationwide.

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