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Isham Treats Students For Lice

Last week, Isham Health Center found seven Andover students afflicted with head lice. These students are currently undergoing treatment. Dr. Richard Keller, School Physician, said cases originated in two dorms. Two cases were discovered in one dorm and five in the second. Keller said there have been no new cases in the last five days and that Isham expects the outbreak to conclude soon. “Current cases seem to be disappearing, [and] we expect no more cases. [Students] probably unknowingly brought [lice] from home, or picked it up in public places,” said Keller. “[Head lice] is very common nationwide, [especially] in cities. Anyone can get it from any background.” Individuals with lice are undergoing a two-week treatment using medicinal egg removal shampoo. Keller said, “There are many medicines used to treat lice. For the current cases, we use normal over-the-counter [medicines].” Affected dorms are undergoing cleaning, as lice eggs can remain on surfaces for a few days. “We treat the kids and make sure close contacts are [avoided], and ensure OPP cleans the dorm,” said Keller. “[Lice] can spread around quickly, especially if people are living together.” Keller said living in the same room as someone who may have lice also increases one’s chance of getting lice. The most common method of transmission is through the sharing of combs, brushes and hair bands. According to Keller, despite such measures, hair lice are harmless in most circumstances. Keller recommended refraining from sharing anything that touches hair, such as combs, brushes, headbands and hats. “I [would] try to avoid risks outside… somebody [could] bring it back from school. Just be careful outside… I would be wary of movie theaters.” According to Keller, lice outbreaks are not uncommon on campus, with cases appearing every one or two years. “Usually only one or two kids are affected. In [this case], a few more is unusual,” he said. “Lice carry no diseases. You can’t get sick from lice. It’s more of a nuisance, not harmful in any way.” Arianna Chang ’13 said, “My roommate and I check each other for lice… I think it’s a really bad thing to get here especially, because you miss out in a lot of things. I’ll just be extra careful about using anything.” Sam Koffman ’13 said, “I really don’t care… it’s going to go away quietly, [and] its not a really big deal.” Keller said, “Lice is very common at schools… extremely common at summer camps. Almost every summer camp has to deal with lice at some point.”