Local lice expert sees increase Virginia Beach cases

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A local expert warns parents you might want to check your kids for lice.

Julie Burbank is the owner of the Lice Treatment Services – Let’s Be P.A.L.S. and said recently she has seen an increase in people coming to her for problems with lice.

One mother who didn’t want us to use her full name said the first time her children came home with lice from summer camp a few years ago, it was shocking and concerning.

Burbank said she is constantly dealing with parents who are extremely worried once they hear their kids have lice.

She says recently she was been very busy with clients coming to her for help.
“I have definitely seen an influx of head lice. I think most important thing about head lice is that people are not well informed. They don’t know what it looks like. They don’t how to properly check for it,” said Burbank, “We’ve had a lot of influx in schools with head lice recently.”

The CDC said personal hygiene in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice. “Lice are very contagious so doesn’t matter that your hair is clean or dirty,” said Burbank, “Parents really need to know how to check for head lice. You have to have a proper comb to be able to check for head lice.”

According to the CDC:

In the United States, infestation with head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis) is most common among preschool- and elementary school-age children and their household members and caretakers. Head lice are not known to transmit disease; however, secondary bacterial infection of the skin resulting from scratching can occur with any lice infestation.

Getting head lice is not related to cleanliness of the person or his or her environment.

Head lice are mainly spread by direct contact with the hair of an infested person. The most common way to get head lice is by head-to-head contact with a person who already has head lice. Such contact can be common among children during play at:

  • school,
  • home, and
  • elsewhere (e.g., sports activities, playgrounds, camp, and slumber parties).

Uncommonly, transmission may occur by:

  • wearing clothing, such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, or hair ribbons worn by an infested person;
  • using infested combs, brushes or towels; or
  • lying on a bed, couch, pillow, carpet, or stuffed animal that has recently been in contact with an infested person.

Reliable data on how many people get head lice each year in the United States are not available; however, an estimated 6 million to 12 million infestations occur each year in the United States among children 3 to 11 years of age. Some studies suggest that girls get head lice more often than boys, probably due to more frequent head-to-head contact.

In the United States, infestation with head lice is much less common among African-Americans than among persons of other races. The head louse found most frequently in the United States may have claws that are better adapted for grasping the shape and width of some types of hair but not others.

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