Do You Really Know About Head Lice?
Get Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Lice from a Certified Head Lice Clinician
Getting head lice is such a common ailment for school-aged kids, it almost seems like a rite of passage. In fact, between 6 and 12 million infestations occur in the U.S. among 3 to 16 year olds each year.
But, just because it’s common doesn’t mean many people actually know a lot about head lice.
“There are a lot of myths out there about head lice,” said Elissa Rand of Meticulice. “ Misinformation means children and their parents aren’t treating head lice correctly, which can lead to re-infestation and, ultimately, a lot more stress and discomfort.”
Here are the answers to six frequently asked questions from parents according to Rand:
Q: What are the risk factors for head lice?
A: Since head lice are spread through direct head-to-head contact, kids who spend time with other kids at school, daycare, camp, after school activities (even at home) are more likely to get head lice.
Many people think that having dirty hair increases your risk of getting head lice, but that’s just not true. How clean your child’s hair, home or school are have absolutely no effect on if they get lice or not. With clean hair you have more of a chance of flyaway hairs, in turn, higher risk of a louse attaching to your hair strands.
Q: How do I know if my child has head lice?
A: If you find a tan or light-colored bug moving around on your child’s head or scalp, you can be pretty sure they have head lice. Diagnosing head lice can be challenging, though, because lice are tiny, (adults are the size of a sesame seed), and they move quickly.
Misdiagnosis of head lice happens a lot. Nits (lice eggs) are often confused with dirt or dandruff by parents combing their child’s hair. One of the best ways to get an accurate diagnosis is by going to a head lice specialist or a doctor.
Q: How did my child get head lice?
A: Head lice are primarily spread through head-to-head contact, so more than likely your child spent time playing with a child that already had head lice.
Less common ways of getting head lice are when children are sharing clothing (hats, scarves), brushes or lying on a fabric surface (pillows, couch) that have recently been used by an infected person.
Adult head lice only live for up to 48 hours away from a human host, and head lice have trouble climbing surfaces other than human hair as they do not crawl like a regular insect.
Q: Can head lice spread disease?
A: No, head lice currently do not spread any known diseases. Many people are allergic to head lice bites, so they feel itchy and scratch their scalp. Excessive scratching could potentially lead to a skin infection, though, if it’s bad enough to break the skin.
Q: What’s the best treatment for head lice?
A: There are lots of treatment options available today from prescription shampoos to herbal remedies, but the efficacy varies greatly. We recommend our clinically proven Meticulice Head Lice Elimination Kit, or if you are local, visit our removal salon here in Setauket, NY for our clinically proven removal method.
Check out Meticulice’s Back to School Head Lice Prevention Kit and more!