There are many commonly spread falsehoods surrounding head lice. One of the most damaging is that if someone has head lice they also have poor personal hygiene. This common misconception causes those who have been identified as the infested person in their household to be embarrassed and conceal the fact that they have head lice which contributes to more people in the community catching head lice. It's no surprise then, as professionals at LiceDoctors, we're often asked to do lice like clean or dirty hair. Lice prefer clean hair, which directly contradicts what most have heard.
DO LICE LIKE DIRTY HAIR?
Lice are fans of ALL sorts of hair, however, among the common myths about lice is that lice prefer dirty hair. You may be surprised to find that lice prefer a head that is squeaky clean over one that is dirty, artificially or otherwise, because it is easier for them to grab hold of the hair. Consider how difficult it is to get a grip on a rope when it is oily. A rope that is clean, however, is easier to get a grip on. In this scenario, the hair is like a rope that lice use to climb to from one head to another's hair. This doesn't mean you should stop washing your hair to avoid getting lice. Many people, especially those with long hair or busy parents, coat their hair with natural products like essential oils, mousse, or hair gel to provide a protective barrier against a lice infestation. This can be an effective protectant.
DO LICE LIKE CLEAN HAIR?
For the reason mentioned previously, head lice cases are more prevalent in those people who rigorously shampoo their hair. Human host who regularly washes their hair in an effort to ward off live lice is actually making themselves more vulnerable to a head lice infestation if they are in close proximity to other adults, children, or family members who have head lice. Hair that is not coated with oil or a product such as a head lice repellent with essential oils, mousse, or gel is easier for the bugs to grab onto to infest a new head; it is also easier for adult lice to maintain a grip on the clean hair of the human head once they have made themselves at home; it is there that a female head louse will feed on the human blood from the clean human scalp and subsequently lay her lice eggs (called nits - about the size of a sesame seed) on the hair shaft without any obstacles. So, unlike what you may have heard, head lice prefer hair that is clean over a person with poor hygiene.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS TO GET LICE?
There are a number of factors that may put an individual or whole household at risk of getting head lice. While there is no 100% guaranteed way to ensure you or a family member will never catch head lice from an infested person, there are a few factors that may put an individual at an increased risk of getting a case of head lice. Here are a few of the most common:
- Close contact with an individual who has an active case of head lice as lice is passed via head-to-head touching.
- Clean hair is preferred by lice over dirty hair.
- Hair that is left down especially long hair that is thick is more available to the bugs.
- Families with school-aged children are at an increased risk of getting head lice as young kids are in close contact with each other.
- Individuals who like to hug (such as small children) due to close contact.
- People who take selfies often with other individuals put themselves at increased risk when their head touches another person's head.
WHAT TO DO IF I GET LICE?
Don't panic! If you get lice, start by educating yourself. Of course, treatment is required. The active ingredients in pesticide treatments can cause unwanted side effects and they continue to lose their effectiveness at killing head lice. We recommend our all-natural head lice removal techniques and follow-up plan, but there are home remedies that some families use that can help you get rid of lice. Do your research and choose the option that fits your family best. Nothing is effective at killing lice eggs. If nits are not removed, they hatch after about a week, so in addition to killing head lice bugs, effective head lice treatments include a follow-up to not spread head lice and ensure you are able to get rid of head lice. Continue to check the head for a few weeks to be certain that your treatment was successful as a single adult louse can bring you back to square one. It's advisable to keep long hair tied up and artificially dirty to avoid reinfestation of head lice.
WHAT NOT TO DO IF I GET HEAD LICE?
In addition to treating head lice, be sure to understand what you do not need to do. Head lice live on the head close to the scalp, not in the house. Head lice feed on human blood from the scalp and a female louse will lay her eggs on the strands of hair. Once separated from the head, head lice will die in about a day. Getting rid of lice is stressful enough, but effective head lice treatments, including home remedies, do not require additional lice treatment for the home. The chances that you will catch head lice from head contact with bed linens, personal items, stuffed animals, or hair accessories are incredibly low.
Rest assured that if you have head lice it is not a sign that your personal hygiene is lacking. Whether your hair is clean or dirty, if you've found head lice we can help you. With a track record of treating over 600,000 satisfied clients, LiceDoctors is the company with the expertise and guarantee that your technician will get rid of your lice and nits in addition to educating you on actual risk factors for getting lice. Call LiceDoctors day or night at 800-224-2537 to put an end to your lice aggravation.