Campus lice epidemic causes itching hypochondriasis


By Lisa O’Nit-Lol ‘18 | Ray of sunshine

Photo by Alberta Hoffman ‘43

Pictured above are four unfortunate victims of the hypochondriasis epidemic.
Pictured above are four unfortunate victims of the hypochondriasis epidemic.

Students scratching their heads has become a common sight to see–and not just over homework confusion. In the past week, Scaley Health Center has recorded 438 students coming into the center for head checks.

These striking numbers, of nearly 20 percent of the student body, have led to a mass overnight order of lice-killing shampoo by Scaley, overtime for Scaley nurses as well as the Plant Ops vaccuuming and sanitizing units, and emergency late-night meetings in the Office of Residence Life. A source close to the College claimed that a call had been placed from Lafayette administration to De-Lousing International Emergency Squad.

Strangely enough, though, none of the 438 head checks have recovered any actual lice, lice corpses, or eggs.

“It’s the idea that a lice epidemic is ravaging campus, not the actual louse presence, that causes such extreme paranoia and itchiness,” medical staff head Dr. Xterm’n Nader said. He cited past reports of compulsive scratching and the phantom sensation of crawling on one’s scalp following lice outbreaks or rumors of such. But this case could be the first documented of pediculosis hypochondriasis on such a mass scale.

So how does a rumor with such irritating consequences begin? The Scoffayette worked to track the catalyst for the original paranoia. As of print time each lead had been a dead end.

“If they’re not really there, then I must be going nuts. Both possibilities are pretty lousy,” Mary Mumford ‘16 said, as she scratched her scalp through a shower cap. Several other students in line behind her waiting for campus washers and dryers to open nodded their similarly shower-capped heads in agreement.

If you have any information on the mass paranoia or tips on how to soothe itchy thoughts, please contact The Scoffayette by email or by stopping by the newsroom (please enter only after you have been cleared for lice via Hazmat team).