You notice your child is itching his head an abnormal amount. He seems uncomfortable and you suspect it might be head lice. You start to panic because you don’t know anything about head lice or how to treat it. Don’t worry, many parents have been in this situation before you, and many will be in this situation after you. We know head lice can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. As experts in the head lice industry, we’d like to provide you with the facts of lice and debunk some common head lice myths.
Here are 5 of the biggest misconceptions about head lice.
Only Dirty People Get Head Lice
Back in the day when head lice were ambiguous before there was even such a thing as treatment, people believed that head lice infestations only happened to those of the lower class. You would be looked down upon if you had lice because it meant you didn’t have enough money to stay clean. We now know that that is a bunch of bologna. Head lice aren’t a bacterium; they don’t grow as a result of un-kept hygiene. Head lice don’t care if your hair is clean or dirty. In fact, head lice don’t discriminate unless you are bald. If you are bald, you won’t be bothered. Otherwise, they’ll happily live in your hair no matter your gender, nationality, age or social class. In a head louse’s mind, all people with hair are created equal.
Head Lice Carry Diseases and Viruses
Fortunately, this is untrue. Otherwise, roughly 6 million kids would have diseases each year. Head lice are an itchy nuisance but they aren’t harmful and they don’t carry diseases. We know that your children are precious to you, so we take good care of them at our clinic and answer any questions you may have. Head lice bites may leave red sores on the head if not treated right away but they will go away a few days after treatment. Even though they aren’t harmful, the longer you wait to treat them, the bigger pain they become as they lay more eggs. You’ll want to get the infestation taken care of right away. They can also cause pretty intense itching but that is the extent of it.
Head Lice Can Jump
Grasshoppers and crickets can jump, but not head lice. Head lice are tiny parasitic insects with six little claws that allow them to crawl around. They can only be spread through head-to-head contact or direct contact with an item of clothing or an object that a louse has crawled onto from the head. You literally have to touch heads in order for lice to get from one head to another. Head lice jumping or flying from head to head is a huge misconception. You can’t get head lice by simply being around someone who has it.
You Can Get Head Lice From Your Pet
Wrong! It seems like animals could give you head lice, doesn’t it? But they can’t. Pets and humans are susceptible to completely different types of lice. The type of lice that live in the fur of animals can’t live on humans and vice versa. So, if your child needs to hug Fluffy for comfort while their head itches, it’s fine to let them.
Head Lice Can Live in Your Home Or Bed For Weeks
Head lice need a human blood supply to survive and they need hair to cling onto. Their eggs (called nits) are laid and then secrete a glue-like substance that sticks them to hair follicles very close to the scalp. Head lice can only survive off of the scalp for a few days at most. It is still a good idea to treat your child’s bed and any clothing they wore after having an outbreak though. To clean the bed and clothes, remove all bedding and any clothing from the room, wash it at high temperature, followed by a lengthy and thorough drying.
Now you know the truth behind 5 of the biggest head lice myths. If your child brings head lice home, remember to take a deep breath and don’t panic, it’s extremely common and can be taken care of. Give us a call for questions or to schedule an appointment. Keep up with our blog to learn more about head lice and other things going on in Kentucky!