Lice Outbreak Afflicts Fordham University Dorms
Everyone remembers lining up outside the nurse’s office in first grade, hair tied up in pigtails, lunchbox in hand, waiting to get their hair combed through for the infamous lice check. It was terrifying, sitting in that plastic chair with an old lady’s fingers ripping through the knots in your hair, waiting for what seemed like hours to see if you could go to recess or if you had to go home. Rumors flew around school of the kid who started the lice having to bathe in olive oil, put mayonnaise in their hair or even shave their head.
Now imagine this entire scenario, except in it you’re 20 and you’re in college. You live in a dorm, you share everything with everyone you live with, and there’s no nurse there to check you or your friends’ hair. Your head starts to itch uncontrollably, you tell yourself it’s just placebo effect, but who knows? Maybe it’s lice.
Lice is something that I never thought I’d have to deal with after the third grade. Once I graduated from spending my summers at camp, I thought I had beat lice, but I was wrong. A couple nights ago, my roommate asked me to search through their hair. They had been itching their head for the past few weeks, assuming that it was just dandruff or an issue with their shampoo, but as I searched, a tiny little louse crawled onto my finger, and my heart dropped into my stomach.
Immediately, we called “Lice Noggins”, the number one lice remover in New York City, and reported that some lice had been found at 441 East Fordham Road. The lice Noggins woman responded, “stay calm, we can help! How old is the child with the lice?” When they heard that the infected head was that of a 20 year old, laughter exploded through the phone line. Although they laughed, they did schedule a time to come de-lice the victim and the apartment.
Lice on a college campus is a terrifying concept, but one that thankfully exists mostly in people’s nightmares, until now. College age students don’t tend to get lice, but once one of them does, it spreads like a wildfire. Lice can hang out on the chairs you sit in every day in class, in the cafeteria, or in the lounges. They can chill on the gym equipment, hop from backpack to backpack, or just wait in your friend’s hat until someone new puts it on.
While we may not know where exactly, there are some lice hiding on campus somewhere, waiting for a new host to latch onto. Since there are no first graders around for them to befriend, college students are looking pretty good to those little bugs.
If you’re getting worried, the good news is that lice can only live without a host for 24 hours, and otherwise you can only get it from head-to-head contact, so keep your hair tied back and your head to yourself. If you’re still worried, you should know that my roommate had lice for about four weeks and I somehow managed not to get it! If I can do it, you can too.