Top 5 Misconceptions About Lice

Just thinking about lice probably makes your head itch. The creepy critters affect millions of children each year. However, there are many misconceptions believed about lice. Understanding how your children contract them and what you should do can help you and your family stay healthy.

Myth: Lice are highly contagious.

Lice do not fly or jump, so they cannot cause an epidemic with proper measures of prevention. You are much more likely to catch a cold or the flu, as they are airborne illnesses. Lice, on the other hand, require direct contact between two people or a person and an object. Lice can only crawl onto strands of hair, so your hair must touch it directly in order for you or your child to become infested with lice. If you know someone near your child has lice, you can take extra precautions to avoid direct contact with that person or their belongings to prevent your child from getting lice.

Myth: You are dirty if you get lice.

Lice do not care if you are clean or dirty. They look for warmth and human blood. They do not differentiate between greasy or clean hair. They also do not affect people who do not regularly shower more than someone who showers daily. All it takes is for the lice to grab onto a piece of hair for the lice to bury in your child’s scalp. If there is even one female louse on your child’s head, she will lay eggs. Within 7-10 days, those eggs hatch and the cycle continues. No amount of hair washing can eliminate the infestation.

Myth: You can tell if you have head lice because you will be itchy.

Lice themselves do not cause itching. If a person with an infestation is itchy, it is likely because they have an allergic reaction to the saliva of the lice. As lice bite a person’s scalp, it leaves tiny marks on the scalp. If the body rejects this saliva, a person could have an allergic reaction, which may include burning or itching. However, when it gets to this point, the lice have usually spread quite a bit. It is very unusual for anyone to become itchy from just one louse.

Myth: Lice live on objects for a long time.

Lice can only survive without human blood for up to 48 hours. Within that timeframe, it is possible to catch lice from objects, such as chairs, pillows, or hairbrushes. However, if a louse does not find human blood before the 48 hours is up, they will die. This can save you many hours of harsh cleaning. The most important thing to focus on is the human head that may have lice living on it.

Myth: Only harsh chemicals kill lice.

It is true, harsh chemicals may kill lice in some cases, but they also cause serious harm to the human body. Recently, even standard lice treatment shampoos with chemicals have been ineffective at treating lice. Instead, natural treatments have proven to be more trustworthy and safe. They eliminate the lice without putting your child’s health at risk.

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