Common Myths about Head Lice.
How Much Do YOU Know About Head Lice?
Q. Head lice can also be found on your pets.
A. False. Head lice are human parasites only.
Q. Head lice can fly from one head to another.
A. False.Head lice do not have wings so they are unable to fly.
Q. Head lice are able to hop from one head to another and from surface to surface.
A. False.Head lice do not have back legs, only front pincer type legs and therefore are unable to jump or hop.
Q. Head lice can be successfully treated with common over the counter products.
A. False.There is no miracle cure for headlice. And any product will only be as good as the person behind the comb. We don’t advocate the use of OTC products, but we will not say they never work. However, DO NOT depend on these products. Super Lice are the result of the overuse of these products. Many OTC products contain chemicals that are harsh for the hair, and scalp, and worst of all, they are neurotoxins and can cause unfavorable neuro symptoms
Q. Head lice produce tiny eggs (nits) which appear as white specks or as dark specks on the hair.
A. True. Nits are sometimes easy, sometimes difficult to see on the hair. A clear nit usually indicates a nit that has hatched. A dark plump nit indicates a viable nit. However, there is a broad range of what nits look like and people often mistake simple dandruff or debris for nits.
Q. Head lice mature in 7 – 10 days
A. True. Nits go through 3 stages before becoming an adult louse. This process generally takes 7 to 10 days.
Q. Head lice prefer clean hair.
A. False. While we wish we could tell everyone that lice prefer clean hair, it simply isn’t true. Lice prefer hair (head hair), and any scalp will provide a beckoning meal.
Q. Head lice are primarily found in low income families
A. False.Head lice know no socio-economic boundaries.
Q. Head lice can live off the head for up to three weeks.
A. False. Head lice DO NOT live off the head. In fact they don’t want to leave the head and it is their misfortune if they find themselves on your towel, pillowcase, pj’s, etc. Head lice can only survive off the head away from a blood meal for approximately 24 hours, give or take a little. They quickly begin to dehydrate after 12 hours of missed feedings when off the head and once that process begins they are not going to recover. Nymphs require a blood meal every 2 to 3 hours, adult bugs feed every 6 hours.
Q. Nits can be transferred from one head to another.
A. False.Nits CAN NOT be transferred. A nit can only be removed from the hair by manual removal with fingers or a quality comb, or a hair with a nit attached falling from the head. Please note, a nit not on a head is extremely unlikely to ever hatch. It requires an incubation period of 7 to 10 days with an uninterrupted temp of 90ish degrees in order to incubate and produce a living nymph. Even if this happened, a head would have to be in the exact place the nymph hatched at the exact time it hatched in order to find a blood meal within minutes. One in a million chance!
Q. Nits can fall to the floor and hatch to become a problem later on.
A. False.Studies have proven that less than 2 percent of head lice infestations occur via sharing combs and hats. The overwhelming evidence is that head lice is spread by HAIR TO HAIR contact. Still caution and common sense should be exercised when trying to stop the spread of head lice. So keeping hair in a pony tail or bun will help to keep your child’s hair away from head lice that may be lurking in their friend’s hair.
Q. Head lice live for up to 30 days on the head.
A. True.Head lice live approximately 30 to 40 days. The female louse will lay approximately 200 eggs (nits) during approximately 20 to 25 days of maturity.
Q. Follow up house cleaning must be a tedious and time consuming process in order to fully insure that no re infestation occurs
A. False.Because head lice live only on the head and require a blood meal frequently each day to survive, they do not build nests in your closets, beds, drawers, etc. Your house cleaning requirements are very minimal and we implore you NOT to spend hours and dollars cleaning, “bombing” your house, throwing out bedding, doing endless loads of laundry. Bedding and clothing can be put in a dryer on high heat for 30 minutes. Vacuum if you must but we don’t insist. Cover your sofa with a blanket or sheet for 24 hours.
Q. Children’s toys must be bagged up and stored for at least a month
A. False.We reiterate, a head louse off the head will live approximately 24 hours. A nit off the head is extremely unlikely to hatch. So PLEASE don’t add insult to injury by removing your children’s beloved stuffies and toys. If they can go in a dryer on high heat for 30 minutes, do that. If not, simply set them aside for 24 hours and give them back.
Q. Kerosene is a good inexpensive treatment for head lice.
A. False.Kerosene was once a standard treatment for head lice. In my mother’s day that was what the old-timers used. However, this is very unsafe and we ask you not to do this. Kerosene is flammable. Fumes from this cannot escape in the tightly sealed and insulated houses of today and can cause an explosion. It is a toxic fume to inhale, possibly causing lung damage. It is also very harsh for the hair and the skin. Please don’t use Kerosene!
Q. Any fine tooth lice comb will do the trick
A. False.There are many lice combs on the market, most OTC treatments come with one. We do not advocate the use of any comb except the one we use in our shop, the TERMINATOR which is the gold standard in the lice industry. Lice combs are not created equally. Most will leave live lice and nits in the hair leaving you frustrated and stressed out. The spiral grooving and closeness of the comb teeth in our TERMINATOR will ensure the most thorough comb out of lice and nits that you will find anywhere. Most treatment centers such as ours, use this comb.
Q. 12 million school age children each year in the US will experience the joy of head lice
A. True.We tell all of our clients that head lice are present in almost every classroom in America. Most schools do not have any head lice policy, other than to notify the parents that their child is found to have an active case. It is believed that head lice don’t carry disease and other than being a nuisance and causing stress for those dealing with it, they pose no public health threat. The use of the TERMINATOR lice comb on a regular basis will be the greatest proactive measure that you and your family can take to keep from developing an infestation that is out of control.
Q. Having head lice indicates that a child is living in a dirty environment
A. False.Head lice do not care how clean or dirty a home is. They are looking for a head where they can feed and a hair to lay eggs on. Please feel no shame if your children get head lice. This is not a reflection of your housekeeping skills or lack thereof.
Q. Repeated outbreaks of lice in the same family mean that a parent is neglectful and should be reported to DHS
A. False.We have treated a few thousand clients in our small shop. We have seen one instance in the past 5 years that rose to the level of what we considered neglect. Our clients have worked and done their best to combat this issue but without proper tools and the correct information, sometimes a case of head lice gets exponentially out of control. This is not a reason to notify DHS. We find it our pleasure to reassure our clients that we know they have done everything they have known to do. We have sent many sad faces away from our shop with a smile and peace of mind.
Q. Pediatricians are well educated in the treatment of head lice and you can believe everything they tell you do.
A. False.We respect the medical community but after treating many physician’s children in our shop we understand that even pediatricians don’t always know what to do to combat head lice. They often resort to recommending OTC products that mostly don’t work, or harsher, expensive prescription products. A salon such as ours is well trained in recognizing and diagnosing a head lice infestation, and we are very adept at eliminating your problem without the use of harsh and dangerous chemicals.