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Myths About Head Lice

Submitted by on September 13, 2016 – 7:00 am3 Comments

Untangling the Myths About Head Lice

Common Myths About Head Lice

With the school year in full swing parents should take the time to learn about the “facts of lice” to all the conflicting myths out there about the icky hair critters that are not a health threat, are not a sign or poor hygiene, and unlike body lice, do not spread disease.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are six to 12 million infestations each year in the U.S. To help prevent infestations, here are a few facts from Penny Warner, RN, NE-BC, and owner of The Lice Place that parents need to know to protect their children, their families and their homes from head lice:

Myth #1: Lice jump head-to-head.

FACT: Lice do not have wings, so, they can’t fly, hop or jump. They move by crawling or climbing onto the hair.

Myth #2: You need to clean your house top-to-bottom.

FACT: Head lice will not infest your home. They can only survive for a short period of time without a host; at most, 24 hours. Simply changing bed linens, washing brushes in hot water, and putting stuffed animals in the dryer for 20 minutes on high heat will suffice for cleaning after treatment of a head lice infestation.

Combing out head liceMyth #3: Lice prefer long and clean hair.

FACT: Lice do not care whether hair is short, long, clean or dirty. Lice thrive in hair, specifically when they feed on the blood they get from the scalp. Itching is an allergic reaction to the louse’s saliva. Most people, about 50 percent, are not allergic.

Myth #4: Natural alternative treatments for head lice are always safe and effective for kids.

FACT: The truth is manual removal of lice is the best and safest way to clear a head lice infestation. Treatments like RID and pharmaceutical-grade products are highly toxic, dangerous and in many cases, flammable.

Myth #5: Keeping your head underwater kills head lice.

FACT: A louse can hold its breath for an indefinite period of time, making old wives’ tales of “smothering” or drowning lice pointless and unsuccessful.

Myth #6: Head lice must be treated quickly to prevent the spread of disease.

FACT: Head lice don’t transmit infections, lead to scabies or make children sick. In fact, they rarely, if ever, cause any harm – just a lot of annoyance. The greatest harm associated with lice comes with well-meaning, but misguided use (and overuse) of toxic treatments to eradicate them. Lice are usually living on its host for four to six weeks before being identified by parents or medical professionals.

These are just a few myths and the actual facts you should know about head lice. For more information about prevention and treatment methods for head lice, visit Don’t forget our motto: Once a week, take a peek!


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