Lice Are Thrilled That Kids Are Back in School

You know what is simply thriving in 2021? Head lice.

Lice Are Thrilled That Kids Are Back in School
Photo:REMKO DE WAAL/AFP via Getty Images (Getty Images)

Despite the fact that the orange man gone, it’s still been a very tough year. But you know what is simply thriving? Head lice. NPR reports that lice “infestation rates are back to pre-lockdown norms, despite school COVID-19 protections” and kids and teens are once again bringing them home to their families.

Here’s one professional nitpicker (yes, that’s where the word comes from) on the resurgence:

“It’s definitely back,” said Kelli Boswell, owner of Lice & Easy, a boutique where people in the Denver area can get deloused, a process that can range from minutes to hours depending on the method and the infestation. “It’s a sign that things are coming back to normal.”

A few things: Her business name is pure gold. Head lice as a sign of things coming back to normal is the reality we deserve, I guess. And also it’s important to underscore that having head lice doesn’t say anything about a person’s hygiene, in fact some delousers say the bugs prefer clean hair. One person told NPR that “head lice indicate that the child has friends.”

Most kids are back in school and are supposed to be at desks spaced three feet apart, so how is this Great Lice Revival happening? Well, not every school can accommodate that amount of space. And lice can be spread through any activity where people touch heads, as the contact could let the little suckers crawl over and find a new host. That activity list includes things as harmless-seeming as taking selfies. Wow, good to know, bestie!

One expert says reports of booming lice outbreaks could all be marketing, and perhaps in-home delousers are just seeing more business as COVID vaccines have made people more comfortable letting others into their apartments and houses. The same person said that apparent infestations could be “dandruff, glitter, hair spray, grass-dwelling springtail insects, innocuous fungus or even cookie crumbs.”

I personally wouldn’t want to write something off as cookie crumbs when it could be a bug that wants to hatch its eggs on my scalp, so stay vigilant out there and godspeed to all the parents, caretakers, and aunties and uncles.

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