Treasure Valley clinics see uptick in teens with head lice

Posted at 7:31 PM, Mar 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-17 21:40:05-04

Head lice is a taboo subject but experts say it's practically as common as the cold.

And these days, local clinics are seeing more teenagers than any other age group.

Head lice don't jump or fly, it's something that is strictly transmitted through head-to-head contact, which with the advent of "selfies" opens up a whole other population that's putting themselves at risk.

Moreover, it's not just elementary-aged kids who are getting it these days. However, being messy or dirty doesn't necessarily mean you're more at risk either.

"It's quite the opposite. Lice have crab-like claws. They like clean hair," says Saleah Snelling, the owner of Lice Clinics of America in Meridian.

Once the bug, that has close to a 30-day life span, makes itself at home and lays eggs - the problem can be ongoing for months. That's all thanks to super lice that has built up a resistance to over-the-counter pesticides.

Some clinics have methods that can get rid of the bug in as little as an hour and a half.

The bug and their mustard-like shaped seeds can be avoided all together by regular checks, avoiding sharing brushes or hats, wearing your hair up and maybe not huddling so closely around cell phones.

"It happens, it is what it is," Snelling says. "I think to help stop the spread of it, it's one of those things that if you can create a dialogue with your friends or parents can talk to other parents it can cut back on transmission."

As we head into the softball and baseball season, parents may even want to consider buying kids their own helmet.