As the residents of Gregory Hall returned from winter break, it appeared that some unwelcome visitors joined them. Rumors spread down the halls about an outbreak of lice on the first day of the spring semester.
The University News has confirmed that the rumors are true. Five girls were interviewed, who asked to remain anonymous.
The lice were discovered on Tuesday, Jan. 21 when “a bug fell out of [a Greg girl’s] hair” shortly after showering, her friend explained. Her roommate checked her hair and determined that she had lice. Soon after, three of the residents’ friends discovered head lice as well.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), head lice are spread most commonly by direct contact—in most cases, hair-to-hair. The spread of lice by sharing clothing or belongings is much less frequent.
An adult louse is roughly the size of a sesame seed and easily spotted in dark hair. Head lice survive less than one to two days if they fall off a person and cannot feed. Nits, unhatched eggs, cannot hatch if they fall off. The CDC also states, “Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.”
Of the Gregory Hall residents, only five discovered lice in their hair. They quickly quarantined themselves out of concern for their hallmates, bought lice treatment kits and used PDK mayo and plastic wrap in an attempt to get rid of the unwanted guests.
“[We] smelled like sandwiches,” one of the girls joked.
After treating themselves, they stayed up until 3:00 A.M. doing laundry to prevent further contamination.
The first girl affected went to the student health clinic and she was told that she was all clear. The girls haven’t found any lice in their hair for a few days, but are still doing treatments just to be safe.
Betty Peretta, the director of housing operations, explained that students who think they have lice are recommended to wash all linens and clothing in hot water and take extra care to thoroughly clean their rooms.
“We did hear of approximately four residents who thought that they had head lice,” Peretta said in an email. “It was reported that the students believed that they brought the lice with them when they returned to campus.”
The Gregory Hall RAs echoed Betty’s advice, encouraging the girls to do laundry, take care of their hair and share a room to prevent other girls from catching the lice. According to the girls, the RAs were “encouraging and supportive,” but the students already had it under control.