Lice Happens – It Shouldn’t Ruin Anyone’s Summer
By Jacob Flesvig
When I first started my internship at the Salvation Army of Naples, I did not expect a head lice identification class to be my first experience in the field. Our presenter was Mr. Adam Fundora, the Nurse Consultant for school health in Collier County.
With that said, my primary interest was not the removal process itself. Rather, it was the various social barriers someone like Mr. Fundora must consider that piqued my interest. Contrary to popular belief, the chance of getting lice is equal to all. Lice do not prefer low-income neighborhoods over high-income neighborhoods and vice versa. Anyone can get it. The main reason low-income communities are hit harder by these parasite insects is due to the fact that lice PREVENTION is expensive and time-consuming.
Despite being so close to the beautiful city of Naples, Immokolee sits just above the national household poverty line of $25,750 with a median household income of $29,308. The poverty in this area makes getting the most effective lice treatments extremely difficult. Currently, the most effective treatment is Sklice, a scalp lotion that is only available via doctor prescription. Even if one could afford Sklice monetarily, he/she may not have proper (or any) health insurance, creating another restriction that people in low-income areas, such as Immokalee, have to battle.
Time and patience are crucial when it comes to treating lice; however, many families in Immokolee live on a day to day basis. It’s easy for lice treatment to get brushed under the rug when more important priorities, such as getting food on the table that night, are looming overhead. Proper instruction on de-lousing from those such as Mr. Fundora is also necessary, but time-consuming as well. Time is something many families cannot spare.
Collier Schools and many away summer camps have a zero louce and nits policy. Meaning a child could be sent home if one dead nit (lice egg) is identified.
Lice prevention/treatment is just one of the many unmet needs of some Immokalee children and families. It would be a shame if a child were unable to have fun at summer camp because they lack a $15 lice treatment kit, or even things like bed sheets, blanket, or pillow (items included on the Camp Keystone what to bring list). If you are interested in supporting our Camp Keystone program, click here or call Robin Wendell at 210-4006.
About the Author
Jacob Flesvig is an intern at the Salvation Army of Naples. He is working to meet his Bright Future Scholarship requirements by contributing 100 volunteer service hours in the Development/Communications Department. He is a senior at Naples High School and plans on attending the University of Colorado at Boulder.