• Eeek! Kuto Yaya!: Dealing with Your Nanny’s Head Lice

    Mom, contributor and Yaya Manual author Tisha C. Bautista gives you ways to address this problem.
    by Tisha C. Bautista .
  • woman scratching headDefining Kuto or Head Lice
    “Kuto” --- yup, you heard it right…head lice.  The bane of many a household, it is a small parasite that lives embedded in human hair and feeds on tiny amounts of blood drawn from the scalp. Although lice aren’t dangerous, and do not supposedly spread disease they are very contagious and can cause a lot of itching and discomfort.

    The Problem with Kuto
    Should you find yourself in a situation where your yaya has a case of head lice. Do not panic. There are two ways to handle the situation --- that is, there are two aspects to address: the physical concerns as well as the emotional “stigma”. Unfortunately, sometimes it is the latter that is more difficult to deal with.
    Once you discover yaya’s condition, sit her down and educate her on the matter. Explain to her that in as much as having head lice is a physical condition that needs to be treated, it does not in anyway bring down judgment on her or her hygiene. Make sure you also speak to the rest of your staff to be supportive and positive about the situation instead of ostracizing your yaya for her situation. Strangely enough, for the head lice to be eliminated and “gone for good” --- the cooperation of the entire household is needed --- hence, again it is an excellent occasion to teach camaraderie, pakikisama and basic charity in your household.

     

    Ways to Deal
    While you are aware of the sensitivities of yaya’s condition, it is equally important to actually do something about it. Here are some tips:
    1.    Highly contagious, head lice spread mainly through head-to-head contact. However, sharing bed linens, brushes, uniforms and other personal items can also be a main culprit for the spread.
    2.    Once you notice constant scratching from any of your staff, make sure you do a head-check. If you are unable to do the task yourself, you can tactfully ask one of your other staffers to do so. Under appropriate light, part the hair into sections and check for “nits”. Nits are lice eggs that lay on hair shafts close to the skin’s surface. Make sure the nits are removed with the proper comb(discarding after or at least sterilizing it in hot water).
    3.    For treatment, some doctors will recommend a medicated shampoo or solution to kill the lice. However, make sure that upon application, instructions are followed completely. Otherwise, it could be dangerous for your yaya.
    4.    In addition, make sure you wash all beddings and shared clothing and personal effects in hot water and dry in a hot dryer. Combs and brushes can soaked in hot water for 10 minutes.
    5.    Please keep in mind that head lice can survive on a human host for approximately 30 days and they cannot generally survive longer than 24 hours off the host. When doing head checks, it would be wise to protect yourself by using rubber gloves.

    Granting that any health or hygiene concerns are always sensitive --- keep in mind that the longer we postpone dealing with the problem, the more “problematic” the situation can become… so face the challenge and dive into finding the solution --- even if it means diving in head first.

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    Photo from flickr.com

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