Updated on July 19, 2020
By LiceDoctors Technician, Laura Whiting
Ask parents "what's the single most important thing to know about lice?" and you will not get a single answer. You will get answers like "what do I look for?!" "Why do they attack children?!" "How can they be on your child and in your house without you knowing it?!" "What kills them?!" You may have noticed there is both a question mark and an exclamation point behind these questions. That is not an error. That is to stress how upset many of us get the first time we encounter lice on our children and in our homes. We are naturally protective of our children and often feel violated to learn that lice have taken up residence in their hair. The response is often emotional because....well, these are our children. Of course we're emotional. Many of us have a natural fear of insects. We fear these pests may carry disease. We fear that ridding our child (and possibly ourselves) of these pests will be difficult and time consuming. We fear the treatments could be a potential hazard especially to our children. We fear the unknown.
There's nothing to fear....at least not in this case. Eventually, after the initial (usually emotional) reaction to lice, parents come around to the one question that really matters...."What do I need to know about lice to get rid of them?"
Mostly, you need to know you will be able to rid your child, yourself, and your home safely and effectively. Learning the most effective way to rid your child and home of lice, along with a technique that does not expose you or your child to harsh chemicals or risky pesticides does not require a lot, but it does need your attention. Being aware of the life cycle of these pests is very helpful in getting rid of them. (Check out the Education Center tab on the LiceDoctors web site). You should know that every time lice are exposed to insecticides they soon develop an immunity, making them even more difficult to get rid of in the future. So the poison that is supposedly safe to use on your child but deadly to other life forms is less effective with every use. Who is to say whether or not the next generation of pesticide (or this generation), that is claimed to be safe to use on humans, will have long term health effects? Do you want to take that risk when there is a known safe and more effective treatment?
To answer some of the other questions, you might feel better knowing that lice do not carry diseases. There is no known disease that lice can transmit to your child. Yes, they are very difficult to see, but they can be seen with the naked eye. Lice are surprisingly quick and will try to hide from light. Also, not everyone reacts to bites from lice, so itching might not be how your child reacts to an infestation, which may be why lice can go undetected. Children, especially very young children, often play very close to one another, sometimes touching heads. Children are easy targets for lice, so children are most often where these insects are found.
Regularly checking your child for lice, by sectioning the hair, is the best way to find the issue early, before a full scale infestation can occur. Getting to the issue early will definitely give you the upper hand in this situation. Should you encounter lice or nits, it is best to inform the school your child attends, as well as her friends, as soon as possible. On a side note, a misconception about lice is that they are the provenience of the poor or dirty. That is not true. Lice do not like dirty hair, and since they are not charging a premium for living in your hair, they don't care how much money you make. They do love it when parents do not inform schools of a possible infestation. Why? It gives them hundreds of kids to infest. (That's a lot of free food and housing for lice). Also, lice cannot jump from one child to another. They need direct contact. They are able to very briefly live in hair brushes and on clothing, but that's a topic for another blog. Watch for this and other information in future blogs designed to help avoid lice infestation.
If you or your child have head lice, give LiceDoctors a call at 858-939-9202 . A lice expert will travel to your house for private and thorough service at a time that is convenient for you.