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Head Lice and the Social Stigma

December 14, 2019
Head Lice and the Social Stigma

Head lice infestations are a common occurrence among children. Children often come in head-to-head contact with other children and thus have an active lice infestation more frequently than adults.

Apart from excessive itching, head lice also pose a threat to the social well-being of children who contract them. The social stigma associated with head lice and its implications on children is often overlooked.

Let’s take a look at how the stigma can manifest into a serious problem that might hinder the day-to-day activities of a child.

Characterizing the stigma


Children who have lice face several social repercussions from their peers and friends. The presence of head lice and nits causes head-scratching and studies show that the social impact of head-scratching is associated with a general dislike. This general dislike manifests in the form of individuals facing certain social repercussions such as being shamed for head-scratching, as well as being teased, bullied, and ostracized by their classmates and peers. Hence, it’s safe to say that all of these social factors combined have a direct and drastic impact on the child’s self-esteem.

Fear and shame

Parents often deal with the issue of head lice in a frustrated manner. They find it difficult to get rid of head lice and to ensure that the infestation doesn’t spread to everyone in the house. In doing so, they end up projecting their own shame and concern onto the child—making the child feel guilty for contracting the head lice in the first place.


The child experiences ostracization that may or may not be limited just to them. Parents often fear that the child may have to sit alone at lunch breaks—and by extension of that, other children of the household will also be bullied, teased, and left out of social gatherings because of their association with a member of the family who has a head lice infestation.

The mere act of scratching is questionable behavior.  Is it an innocent itch? Dirt? Dandruff?  None of these options are ideal and heaven forbid the cause of scratching is the presence of head lice. As such, children with lice, and anyone else associated with them may be the victims of ostracization and social isolation.

The recurring problem of a misdiagnosis

As if the social repercussions of contracting head lice weren’t bad enough, the school officials responsible for diagnosing a lice infestation often end up misdiagnosing and sending children home unnecessarily.

Numerous studies show that due to the incompetence of healthcare professionals in schools who are unable to diagnose active lice infestations accurately, children are subjected to forced absences that hinder their learning in school.

All of these social factors harm the mental well-being of children. As such, lice infestation should be treated immediately—not just to eliminate excessive scratching, but also to improve a child’s social standing in the eyes of their peers and parents.

If your children have a head lice infestation, the best way to get rid of them is to seek professional lice removal treatment that can eliminate these pesky creatures once and for all.

If you’re looking for the best lice treatment in Brick, New Jersey, Lice Troopers’lice removal and lice treatment center Freehold uses natural and child-friendly treatment methods for lice removal. Contact us at 516-693-8711 to make an appointment today!

Lice Troopers offers an all-natural treatment that is guaranteed!

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