Updated on July 17, 2020
By Karen Keavey
Sometimes what you don’t know can make a thing scarier. Such is the truth with lice, which introduces all kinds of ideas that at first can seem downright frightening. But fear not…… it’s time to clean up the misinformation and defy the myths, misconceptions and misinformation about lice. Below – why it’s something to tackle, not to pull your hair out over!
Lice is not transferable through the air – What you need to do is heed some commonsense precautions to help avoid getting lice! Namely NO head to head contact with an infested person. Lice cannot jump or fly like other insects…they are wingless and only crawl from one hair strand to the next; two heads must be close enough for lice to be transferred. So, avoid knocking craniums, sharing headwear, and any activity where you’re literally crashing heads with another person – and you should be good to go!
She/he’s so dirty, she/he must have lice! -- Not only is this a falsehood, know that a cleaner head is a much more likely candidate for lice. Those little buggers crawl from head A to B, and when hair is at its cleanest the lice claws can actually grab the hair. A freshly shampooed head is the perfect playground ground for lice.
My dog ate my homework (or gave me lice) -- Impossible! Like a vampire, lice only feed on HUMAN blood --- so it’s impossible to get lice from your pet! Or for your pet to get lice from you! So, go give Fido, Rover, Smelly Cat or Soft Kitty a big hug!
Everyone is susceptible to lice equally – Although they do love most, there are simply some people lice are NOT interested in…particularly bald people. Some people do seem particularly susceptible though. There is no way, however, to know who is or is. So always better safe than sorry.
If your head doesn’t itch, it’s not lice! – Untrue! It’s very possible to have lice without an itchy scalp! And vice versa – meaning if your scalp DOES itch, you don’t necessarily have lice! Itchiness can be the result of something like eczema, or even your mind playing psychological tricks on you, (called delusional parasitosis…the mistaken belief you are infected!). Either way, if you suspect lice, you should have a professional look closely to find the little buggers up close in the flesh (or scalp). Seeing is believing.
Lice can lead to other diseases –Lice is much more of an inconvenience and nuisance than a physically harmful problem. The infestation is not painful (other than itchy), and their presence is more of an emotional issue than a medical problem. Remember lice do not carry disease. So, take a deep breath, no long-term effects here. Just a big pain in the ……….!
Your home can be infested with lice – Lice need to feed on blood every 3 to 4 hours to survive so the odds of a bug coming off a head, living on your couch or bed and moving onto another head before it dehydrates and dies and are extremely slim. Your home is as likely to be lice infested as you are to win the next lottery. (But that doesn’t mean you should stop trying…the lottery that is!)
Only pesticides kill lice – Actually, usually not the best choice, “super lice’ have developed a resistance to OTC treatments to lice….and the chances of treatments succeeding have been greatly reduced. Consumer Reports and other periodicals have long advocated the use of using manual removal with head coating using conditioners or oil procedures. While time consuming this treatment proves to be an amazingly effective one!
After reading the above, you’ll not only become better informed, but hopefully more collected and calmer should you or someone in your family become infested. Remember, it’s not the end of the world nor dangerous – just something that needs to be taken care of -- effectively and efficiently! . So, do so ASAP and you’ll be back to having a lice(free) day in no time.
LiceDoctors can have an experienced lice specialist at your house whenever you want. She will come in a regular vehicle (no sign) to protect your privacy and maximize your convenience. Call today in Buffalo Grove or Northbrook and surrounding areas at 312-765-7266 . Treatment is covered by FSAs and HSAs and by some insurance plans.