“A study by the Department of Education in 2009 estimated that eight million public school children aged 7 to 12 years old were infested with head lice,” Dr. Arlene Bertuso, an entomologist and professor at the UP Manila College of Public Health said.
Bertuso also shared that head lice can live for up to 30 days on a human head and that female lice can lay up to 100 eggs in their lifetime.
This cycle produces more and more lice that can cause severe itchiness and infection on the scalp. But itchiness could be the least of these children’s worries. The social stigma associated with having lice, locally known as kuto, can leave lasting psychological damage, as it has been found that kuto-infested children are bullied and teased, leading them to miss school for days.
Since kuto can be easily transmitted through direct contact with an infested person or object, the solution is not just to treat the heads affected but through a joint effort by homes, schools and communities.
“Nurses all over the Philippines, especially those assigned in schools, commonly encounter children with kuto,” Balbina Borneo, president of Mother and Child Nurses Association of the Philippines, Inc. (NCNA) said. “Because this problem easily affects a huge number of people, I can say that kuto really is a social concern that needs to be addressed by the whole community.”
To help prevent the spread of head lice, experts like Bertuso recommend that parents regularly inspect their children’s hair, as well as the hair of everyone in the household.
“Communities can start a regular program wherein school nurses or barangay health workers can diagnose people with head lice and advise them on proper head lice treatment and prevention. Head lice might not be deadly, but the social stigma associated with having them makes kuto infestation a public health problem worthy of concern,” Bertuso said.
Borneo advised, “We have to take action in keeping our households kuto free through simple activities like avoiding sharing of combs, towels and other materials that touch the hair, as lice spreads through physical contact with infested objects. We should regularly replace our beddings and pillowcases to avoid the transfer of lice.”
Celebrity mom Love Añover also shared her experience dealing with head lice and another effective solution she discovered to fight it – Licealiz head lice treatment shampoo.
“We were very careful with my daughter’s hygiene and surroundings, so I couldn’t believe it when she started scratching her head. Sure enough, we found head lice! We didn’t think it was possible for my daughter to get head lice given how young she was at the time, but eventually we found out that she got them from our household help. When I was a child, we only used suyod, which was quite inefficient in getting all the lice out. For my daughter, we wanted to try something clinically tested and proven in removing lice. We tried Licealiz head lice treatment shampoo and after two weeks of use, my child was lice-free!” she shared
Licealiz will continue arranging shampooing programs and activities for public school students all over the country and will also post educational materials on head lice and how to fight them on its Facebook page.
Activations ambassador Dr. Maria Michelle Vita, who travels with the Licealiz team and gives lectures to parents of public school students on head lice prevention and treatment, has this to say about the program. “We formed the Kilusang Kontra Kuto to help stop the spread of misinformation about kuto and to remove the stigma associated with being infested. Kuto is a public health problem that can be solved with the help of everyone from the community.” explained Vita.
Lamoiyan Corporation has created a health education campaign designed to help communities all over the country address the problem of kuto.
Led by Lamoiyan Corporation’s Licealiz head lice treatment shampoo, in partnership with the MCNAP and supported by the UP Manila College of Public Health, Kilusang Kontra Kuto was formed as an educational movement seeking to spread awareness about lice infestation issues and prevent and treat head lice.
For more information on lice prevention, visit Licealiz’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/licealiz.