Head Lice: Most Likely to be Found on Kids With Clean Hair and Lots of Friends!

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Do you have clean hair and friends? Your chances of getting lice are pretty good!child with sudsy hair peeking out of tub

Head lice has become a prevalent problem facing American families today. In fact, head lice is the second leading cause of absenteeism from schools, just after the common cold. In 2010, the American Academy of Pediatrics revised its guidelines suggesting that schools permit children with nits (lice eggs) to stay in school as nits are not transferable until after live bugs emerge and mature. This recommendation has triggered debate on this topic among pediatricians, educators, school nurses, and parents who attempt to assess the potentially increased risk of lice transmission against the cost of missed school days. At least 6-12 million cases are reported each year among school age children and this is likely low; many cases go unreported magnified-picture-of-lice-eggs-licedoctorsas families often hide in shame for fear that their children will be ostracized.

Head lice are insects that live on human heads and are transmitted through direct head to head contact. Head lice can not hop, jump, or fly so people need to be in close enough contact for the bug to crawl from one head to another. Occasionally, a louse is transferred through an object such as a backpack or on a piece of furniture, but this is the exception; lice only live a day or so off the head and do not like to leave their food source (human blood) unless there is a fresh food source nearby i.e. another human head.

In addition, the only criteria that head lice use in determining which head to go to are proximity and availability of hair. If you have hair and are near an infested person, then you are at risk. Head lice attach to the hair and then use it as a ladder to get to the scalp where they can get the blood on which they feed three times daily. What type of hair is attractive to head lice? The answer: any type, but the cleaner the hair the easier it is for the louse to attach and makes its way to the scalp. That's right; lice like clean hair. Dirty hair is generally covered with oil which makes it more challenging for the louse to attach.

Let's review: lice are more likely found on children and adults with good hygiene (clean hair) and those who are social (in close contact with others). Children whom we treat are usually socially busy, active on sports teams, well-groomed, etc. The child who spends most of his or her time alone at home is not a high-risk candidate for head lice. It is safe to state that if your child has head lice you are doing nothing wrong and neither is your child.

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The sooner people understand this, the sooner we can eliminate the stigma of head lice. There is no shame in getting lice, just as there is no shame in having a cold. Families need not be embarrassed because their child has picked up a case of lice. After all, no one is immune...especially those with good hygiene and a lot of friends!

If you are in the Ellicott City area and find lice in your family, call LiceDoctors at 443-873-2187. We will send a lice professional to your home at your desired time. All treatments are chemical-free and guaranteed.

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