A common misconception regarding head lice is that they are more common in lower income populations. The reality: head lice are found among all socioeconomic groups. Infestations are also likely to occur in most ethnic groups, though African Americans have lower rates.
Knowing that lice are common in all populations, why does it appear that lower income areas have more cases? The reason is that these populations have a harder time affording treatment.
Head Lice Treatment Costs: A Barrier for Lower Income Families
Over-the-counter treatments are around $30, and they often contain harsh ingredients that lice are resistant to. Safe, nontoxic solutions can cost upwards of $50 or more. For families struggling to pay their bills and put food on the table, these costs can be prohibitive in receiving treatment.
Additionally, lice treatment products typically treat one head. Therefore, if everyone in the family has lice, the costs increase significantly. We’ve even heard of some children having their heads shaved to prevent lice. (This is not necessary.)
Ways to Decrease Lice Infestations in Poorer Communities
The good news is that there are ways to reduce the incidence of head lice in poorer communities. Remember, head lice is not more common in these areas – treatment is just less accessible for these families.
- Education. Informing students, parents and staff on what lice are, the ways they are spread and how to prevent them from returning can make a huge difference in reducing infestations. The misconceptions that surround head lice continue to do more harm than good.
- Accessible treatment. When kids get lice, parents often feel overwhelmed. It’s best to steer parents away from products that waste time and money. My Hair Helpers sells nontoxic products with a lice-free guarantee. They are available on Amazon, on our website or directly through our salon.
- Discounts for families. Rather than paying $50+ for each person in the home, manufacturers can offer family treatment plans at discounted prices. For example, My Hair Helpers offers family friendly pricing. Our products can treat 1-2 children, or we have convenient family-size kits for everyone in the family.
- Lice checks in schools. To manage head lice in schools, principals and administrators can schedule lice screenings throughout the year. This way, all students receive a thorough lice check and immediate treatment, if necessary.
Head Lice Prevention is a Community Approach
My Hair Helpers not only offers head lice prevention and treatment services, but we also have a Life Free Forever Charity that helps children and families struggling with head lice. It doesn’t matter how long a child has had head lice for – we can get rid of it and provide the family with education on how to stay lice free. To discuss the options for reducing head lice infestations in your school or community, contact us today.