SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – As your kids go back to school there’s one thing you don’t want them to bring back home. The 22News I-Team discovered just how common head lice are, and a new way kids are spreading it.
Head lice are wingless little insects that live off human hair and they can turn your home upside down if you child comes home with them.
“It’s always a concern, that stuff spreads pretty quickly,” said West Springfield’s Angel Marcano.
“My brothers did (have lice),” said Mandilynn Marcano.
(How did they not transfer it to you?)
“My mom shaved their hair off,” said Marcano.
The 22News I-Team discovered that, in the past two years, 512 students in the Springfield public schools went to the nurse and were found to have head lice. That’s more than twice as many as Worcester, a similar sized school district where they had 212 reported cases of lice.
Baystate Medical Center Pediatrician John O’Reilly told the I-Team, it is easy to transfer lice when there’s a lot of people close together.
“Suddenly what might have been one case is ten cases and those ten cases go home and share it with their siblings the same way they share the common cold with their siblings,” said Dr. O’Reilly.
Sharing hats or combs are the most common way to spread head lice. More recently, selfies are being blamed for head lice outbreaks and more teens are at risk.
“Selfie spreads to the teenagers now, it used to be Elementary School now there’s this little blip as all the teenagers put their heads together for their selfies suddenly the rate in High School is going up,” said Dr. O’Reilly.
Dr. O’Reilly says no matter how old your kids are, parents should check them for lice. If you see eggs, or actual lice, start treating it immediately.
Schools aren’t required to keep track of head lice cases, some schools like Northampton and Holyoke, don’t. Westfield does and it had 27 cases reported last year.