Head lice affect primary school age children every year and in Portugal the sale of products purported to tackle the problem has been going off the scale. In 2016, the country’s parents spent €7.3 million “eliminating” these itchy-scratchy parasites. That’s a 2.2% increase on the year before, while this year over €5 million has been spent – translating into an 8.6% increase on the same period last year.
What’s the reason, asks tabloid Jornal de Notícias?
Pediatrician Emídio Carreiro thinks it’s a question of people using anti-lice products too much, leading the bugs to build up resistance.
“People have started using treatment shampoos as a form of prevention, and this is wrong”, he explained.
The result is that tiny bugs are creating major problems, leading to absenteeism at schools and “heightened stress in families”.