Health

Philly-Area Teachers and School Nurses Can Now Get Free Lice Treatment and Screenings

A new program that provides free resources to educators and school nurses just launched in Lice Clinics of America’s three Philly-area locations.


Thanks to Lice Clinics of America’s “Schools Without Lice” program, teachers and school nurses can now receive free lice screenings, treatments, and resources to keep their scalps and their schools lice-free. / Photograph courtesy of Lice Clinics of America

Recently, it has become more and more apparent that bugs are pretty much taking over the world (or at least the Philly area). The presence of those dreaded lanternflies skyrocketed this past summer, laying egg sacs all over the place and ruining our chances of drinking good beer and wine. As if one insect invasion wasn’t terrifying enough, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently imported lanternfly-killing wasps from China in attempts to put an end to the infestation — and one of their research units is in Newark, Delaware. Bringing in bugs to fight bugs? Cool cool cool.

To keep this science fiction nightmare turned horrifying reality going, there’s one pest that can make anyone, regardless of age, shudder in fear: the head louse. Head lice are wingless insects that live in the scalp and feed on human blood. They also tend to be the bane of parents’ and teachers’ existences, as head lice are most commonly spread among school children. Research suggests that up to 24 million school days are missed each year because of lice infestations, and that the annual economic loss from parents needing to stay home with their children to properly treat head lice is estimated at at least $4 billion.

Unfortunately, the number of head lice cases is on the rise. Lice Clinics of America (LCA), the world’s largest network of professional urgent care head lice treatment centers, has seen a 10 percent increase in summer lice activity from last year in their 220 clinics around the country. Because of this, LCA decided to launch a nationwide program at the start of this school year to reduce in-school head lice.

“Schools Without Lice” is a national educator partnership that provides teachers and school nurses with free lice screenings, treatments, and educational resources. The program aims to equip those serving those in direct contact with students with the most up-to-date information on how to keep schools as lice free as possible all year long. LCA’s three Philly-area locations, in Conshohocken, Chadds Ford, and Downingtown, are participating.

Sharon Rizzuto, owner of Lice Clinics of America’s Philadelphia branches, says the initiative stemmed from the desire to both educate and keep kids in school. “Our goal is to make people more aware about lice detection and treatment and to lessen the amount of panic and distraction that head lice can cause,” Rizzuto says. “Educators and school nurses already have so much on their plate, [and we hope our program helps them] focus on what they love to do and reduce the number of student absences.”

In order to receive the free screenings, treatment, and resources, all Philly-area teachers and school nurses can contact any of the three local clinics to schedule an appointment. It doesn’t matter if you work in a public, private, or parochial school, or if your district isn’t within a certain radius of an LCA site. All you’ll need to show is a valid school ID.

Although students and parents are not eligible to receive the information and treatment, Lice Clinics of America offers screenings for $25. If positive, the clinics’ FDA-approved medical device, called the AirAllé, uses heated air to dehydrate and kill more than 99 percent of hatched lice and their eggs in one 60-minute session. Treatment costs range from $129 to $189, with insurance reimbursement available.

Lice Clinics of America can be found at 1928 Butler Pike in Conshohocken, 2 Station Way in Chadds Ford, and 797 East Lancaster Avenue, Suite 1A in Downingtown.