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Live Mic: Lice infestations rising during pandemic
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Live Mic: Lice infestations are on the rise during pandemic

Head lice (louse) isolated

SALT LAKE CITY — While everyone is staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic, an unwanted visitor may be spending time at home with you: lice.

Lice Clinics of America (LCA), the world’s largest network of professional urgent care head-lice clinics, has seen a 25% increase in lice activity from April to May of this year.

Dr. Krista Lauer, who is the medical director of LCA, joins Lee Lonsberry on Live Mic to explain why this is happening during a pandemic.

Kids stuck at home

There used to be a stigma associated with head lice, but Lauer said lice has nothing to do with an individual’s personal hygiene nor the cleanliness of a person’s environment.

“Lice really is an infestation that happens purely by opportunity,” Lauer said. “That’s why we’re seeing such an uptick in the cases most recently because of the stay-at-home mandate.

“Children who had head lice were stuck at home with their families and not able to get out,” she said. “The closer proximity of families during that time meant that the penetration of the air infestation went further into a family. . . .The entire family was getting it.”

Lauer said the lag time between when someone is infested with lice and starts to show symptoms is about four weeks on average. She said the recent outbreaks of lice are more severe than normal.

“After four weeks, what should you be on the lookout for?” Lee asked.

Lauer said only about half of the people who contract lice show symptoms.

“Those who do you get head lice the most common [symptom] is itching,” she said. “They love the nape of the neck and behind the ears. Any itchiness of the scalp you need to pay attention to.”

Lice are harmless

“How do we safeguard?” Lee asked.

“The best thing is to be aware that head lice are really common,” Lauer said. “According to the CDC, between 6 and 12 million new head lice infestations happen every year between children age 3 to 11. That doesn’t take into account their siblings their caregivers, their gymnastics teacher, whoever — the other people who get it.”

Lauer also pointed out that head lice are not dangerous. They cause no medical conditions or long-term health problems.

“They are just a nuisance,” she said and recommended checking your child’s scalp once a week.

To find out more visit

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.


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