Free Essay Example - Head Lice

Published: 2023-03-08
Free Essay Example - Head Lice
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Medicine Healthcare policy Ethical dilemma Nursing care
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1873 words
16 min read

It is important to note that a communicable disease is a type of infection that is spread through various ways that include: contact with bodily fluid and blood when bitten by an insect, or through breathing in any airborne virus. It should be noted that head lice are tiny and wingless insects that live among hairs and feed primarily on blood from the human scalp. The disease has been a common problem, mostly in kids (Hine, 2014). The disease is difficult to get rid of and spread quickly from one person to the other. When they bite, they make the scalp itchy and irritated. This leads to scratching, which consequently leads to infection. It cannot be denied that head lice are a very annoying disease, but of interesting to note is that it is not dangerous as they do not spread disease. Understandably, head lice are not a sign of poor hygiene as the major intention is to get blood, and therefore, they do not care whether a person is clean or dirty (Hine, 2014).

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For this reason, head lice should be treated right away to prevent its spreading. The purpose of this paper is to discuss head lice as a communicable disease by looking at various factors, including how it impacts nursing practice alongside issues like social, cultural, and ethical that may exist for people with this type of disease. Further, there will be a discussion on the mechanisms that healthcare has to combat this disease. Lastly, the paper will propose a policy statement that supports the approach to deal with head lice as well as looking at how information technology and data will affect how nurses approach head lice.

Undoubtedly, head lice have had several impacts on nursing practice. The success of its treatment has had varying views as there has been a lot of confusion and frustration among families who care for their children (Barry, Sixsmith & Infanti, 2013). It had been noticed that some children develop persistent head lice as a result requiring a lot of effort and resources to meet treatment demands leading to stress to the family and the child. Because of this, head lice as a communicable disease has negatively impacted nursing practice as there are extra efforts required to deal with this disease. Consequently, it should be noted that in some regions, this disease has developed some form of resistance to the over-the-counter treatments, thereby requiring a more specialized individual approach to its treatment and management (Barry et al., 2013). This has greatly affected nursing practice as giving attention to individual patients is a problem owing to the few numbers of nurses compared to the number of patients. As a result, nurses find themselves working tirelessly. Lastly, another challenge of head louse to the nursing practice is that current treatment failures can result from initially conducted misdiagnosis or failure to adhere to a treatment procedure or even a new infestation that has been acquired after a given treatment (Barry et al., 2013). These are all ways in which head lice impact nursing practice as a communicable disease.

It should be noted that one of how healthcare responds to head lice treatment is through the use of medicine. There have been recommendations on the use of medication like cream rinses, medicated shampoos as well as lotions that are used to kill lice. These may be in the form of over-the-counter medicines or even medicines that are prescribed. These medicinal products should contain enough active agents and have sufficient contact time with the head of the child. The intention of allowing for enough contact time is to ensure that the active agent works effectively. Besides, the dimethicone or mineral oil treatments are nowadays considered as the initial treatment (Barry et al., 2013). Notably, the products mentioned above possess more physical effects than chemical effects on the lice. However, if one settles for the over-the-counter medicines, they should be sure that they are safe for their children's age. Notably, as had been mentioned earlier, in some areas, head lice have developed resistance to some of the medicines. In this case, health care providers will recommend a medication that works best in that region.

In most cases, healthcare providers propose the use of medicated lotion or shampoo. However, it is advised that for very resistant lice, the medicine should be taken through the mouth. For proper treatment, healthcare providers advice on whether the medication is a prescription or over-the-counter, the full prescription should be followed (Barry et al., 2013). It should be noted that over the use of these medicines can be very harmful, while small doses will render them ineffective.

Another means of illuminating head lice is by removing nits and lice by the use of hands, which can help if the medicine used did not wholly remove the lice from the child's scalp (Goodman, Burke & Livingston, 2013). Interestingly, this healthcare recommendation is a better option for children who do not want to use medicines. Notably, removing the lice by the use of hands remains the only option for children who are less than two months old who cannot use any other form of treatment. To easily remove the lice, a fine-tooth comb that is on a wet and conditioned hair should be used for about three to four days for three weeks (Goodman et al., 2013). Making the hair wet helps to stop the lice from moving while the conditioner helps in making the comb to go through the hair easily.

It cannot be denied that several ethical issues exist for individuals that have communicable diseases like head lice. These issues sometimes may require the immediate response that includes making decisions for patients with head lice when they are not able to so. These carefully thought decisions, for example, whether to use the medicines on the body or consume the medicines through the mouth (Goodman et al., 2013). These actions taken in ethical issues to deal with communicable disease outlines what is right and wrong, and most many actions taken today can have lasting results concerning the future of communicable diseases. For example, some ethical considerations include the transmission of head lice and the privacy of patients as well as confidentiality (Goodman et al., 2013).

Understandably, different cultures have placed a closer association between poverty and communicable diseases. Many cultures around the world believe that communicable diseases are prone to poverty-stricken areas as most countries with higher income per head have low levels of communicable disease infection (Glassman, Duran & Sumner, 2013). However, although there are some notable exceptions in areas with low income that defy this general cultural belief, most cultures tend to agree with this notion. This has posed a significant threat in the provision of healthcare and, most specifically, in the provision of services to people in the areas perceived to have higher per capita income (Glassman et al., 2013). Such patients suffer because they are ignored in most cases.

On the other hand, social factors like the behavior of health workers as they provide their various services of controlling the threats of such communicable diseases, as well as consequences of urbanization on sanitation as well as water supply, are considered. Communicable diseases like diarrhea in children, which is caused by poor sanitation, increased in number with an increase in the population in a given area. It is worth noting that this is a major issue in the provision of healthcare (Glassman et al., 2013).

One of the major ways to deal with head lice as a policy statement is that the responsibility for identifying the disease, treating, and preventing it within the family should be a parent's concern (Glassman et al., 2013). However, it should be noted that parents cannot be expected to diagnose the current infection or to differentiate the condition from a previously successfully treated infection, with no instruction as well as support from health care professionals. The primary intention of this policy statement is to put it clear that parents have the primary responsibility to ensure that their children are always safe from infection by head lice (Moemenbellah-Fard, Nasiri, Azizi & Fakoorziba, 2016). They should, therefore, ensure that they closely monitor their children to identify any change in their health conditions and take the initial step of ensuring that they accord them the necessary treatment as well as appropriate reporting to the concerned healthcare professional. However, it is worth noting that those who are supporting the parents in identifying, preventing and treating of head lice should have enough knowledge and be competent enough alongside having good understanding of the various inputs of various service providers, parents, teachers, community pharmacists, primary caregivers, community groups, medical officers in the community as well as school public health professionals (Moemenbellah-Fard et al., 2016). The knowledge is essential because it is necessary for each and everyone involved in the process to effectively support each other by ensuring that the disease is effectively monitored and treated.

Concerning how information technology and data affects how nurses approach head lice, it cannot be denied that in the assessment process, data about the disease is collected to determine the state of health of a patient as well as to identify other factors that may affect their wellbeing (Moemenbellah-Fard et al., 2016). The process involves checking health history to help identify former illnesses and injuries, health patterns of the family, allergies, psychological factors, among others, that affect health. The environment health records can be made into the daily evaluation of patients by including some questions concerning prior exposure to physical, chemical, or even biological hazards. When carrying out the assessment, health care providers should be aware of patterns of family members, co-morbidity in patients, as well as communities that show signs of environmental etiologies (Moemenbellah-Fard et al., 2016). The information gained during such assessments may be used to inform a decision concerning health procedures.

It is important to note that after effective data collection during the assessment, an informed diagnosis can be made after that. This highlights the importance of information technology and data collection concerning a disease (Moemenbellah-Fard et al., 2016). During this stage of the nursing process, health issues are identified and described. It is further interesting to note that the routine consideration of various environmental factors affecting health is crucial in the diagnostic stage of the nursing process. Without proper knowledge of these factors, there may be a misdiagnosis which can lead to healthcare problems.

In conclusion, head lice are a very contagious disease that needs the attention of both parents, teachers, and healthcare providers. However, as mentioned earlier, various measures have been put in place to deal with this disease involving the use of various medicines. Multiple factors, including social, cultural as well as ethical that face people with head lice, have also been discussed. Consequently, a policy statement on the role of parents in dealing with head lice has also been mentioned alongside evaluating how information and data are used by nurses to approach head lice.


Barry, M. M., Sixsmith, J., & Infanti, J. J. (2013). A literature review on effective risk communication for the prevention and control of communicable diseases in Europe. ECDC.

Glassman, A., Duran, D., & Sumner, A. (2013). Global health and the new bottom billion: what do shifts in global poverty and disease burden mean for donor agencies? Global Policy, 4(1), 1-14.

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