Lice Clinics of America are here to help families eliminate their head lice problems once and for all. Too many times we hear the same misconceptions from clients that are simply untrue.
Be in the know with these Common Head Lice Myths Debunked
Personal Hygiene Plays a Role in Head Lice
For centuries it has been erroneously believed that only lower class, poor or unhygienic people catch head lice. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, head lice do not show distinct preferences for dirty or clean hair. Anyone with a full head of hair is susceptible to head lice, no matter the age, race, social class or gender. Head lice have claws on the end of their six legs that help them to grasp onto hair strands and avoid being washed away with shampoo or water. They are also capable of holding their breath for up to 8 hours, which means that water alone does not kill them.
Head Lice Put People at Risk for Disease or Viruses
Although head lice is a huge problem that needs to be dealt with quickly, it is actually not a public health crisis. Head lice do not carry harmful disease or pass on viruses. The biggest risk for nontreatment is that the problem will escalate and spread to other members of the household or public. As a parasite, head lice do bite. These bite marks leave red sores, rashes, and irritations on the scalp. Sometimes if left untreated, scratching or repeated biting can result in an infection. These are commonly treated with antibiotics or creams. Otherwise, head lice do not pass on harmful diseases to their victims.
Head Lice Can Jump
Many people believe that head lice are more like fleas…jumping and hopping from one person to another. This is simply not true. Head lice crawl from hair strand to hair strand with their claws. The reason they are so easily spread is that they are capable of using those tiny claws to quickly grasp onto a new host, leave eggs behind or hide in inconspicuous places waiting for a new head to call home. The most common way head lice are transferred is through direct head to head contact. This means hugging, sitting closely with heads together, or any other situation where two people are in close proximity to one another.
Pets Can Transfer Head Lice
Pets play absolutely no role in the transfer of head lice. Many people fear that they need to get their animals treated if they find someone in the home has head lice. This is false. Head lice are a human parasite and animals are not affected.
Head Lice Survive in Beds or Couches
It is extremely important to launder and clean areas of the home that may be infected with head lice or nits. The common misconception is that head lice or nits can live for days or weeks at a time off of a human host. The truth is, head lice or nits will die within a 24 hours period if not reunited with a food and heat source. Bedding, couches, clothing, towels and all other items that could be harboring head lice or nits should be washed on hot cycles or placed in a warm dryer to eliminate the risk of recontamination. However, after 24 hours, fallen nits or head lice will be dead and not pose any risk.
Stay in the know about all things head lice! Keep up with our Lice Clinics of America blog and contact our staff today with any questions or concerns you may have. We are here to help you through your head lice headache!