More than half of all Oslo children have been infected with head lice before the age of 12, according to a new study by the public health institute Folkehelseinstituttet, and cases are rising nationwide. Six out of 10 girls in Norway get head lice and experts aren’t sure why.
“Parents are good at treating it when it’s found in their children’s hair, but they’re not good at checking for lice,” Preben Ottesen of the health institute fold newspaper Aftenposten. He urges a return to the days when it was “standard procedure,” he said, for parents to check for head lice every Saturday.
New figures from Farmastat, which tracks pharmaceutical sales, show that sales of products used to eliminate head lice have exploded, rising 77 percent from 2010 to 2013. The county of Sogn og Fjordane registered the biggest single rise in sales, of 219 percent.
Some experts wonder if the increase is caused by children clustering together to use computers, iPads or mobile phones, or to play electronic games. “It’s hard to know, but we see lots of new cases in the cities,” Ottesen said. He also cautioned against sharing wool caps or other hats, or storing them together in schools and day care centers.