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You Are Not Dirty...Lice Happens

red haired girl lying on the ground facing the camera hands holding yellow flowers and face, background and feet in soft focus.

Updated on July 17, 2020

By LiceDoctors Technician, Ellen Duquet

Anyone can get head lice. If you find lice, it does not mean you are “gross” or dirty. In fact, the opposite is true. Lice prefer clean hair. Below, LiceDoctors technician, Ellen, discusses this misconception:

I walked into the house of a family of 4, with the mother “freaking out” because her daughter had lice. woman in black holding head back screaming, dark background.She had been up until two o’clock that morning picking the live lice from her daughter’s hair but her daughter still had the heebie jeebies and could “feel them crawling on her”. I set up my little area so I could get to picking and clear her head of lice. I sat the mother down and we began our check, applying the olive oil so I could get a good look, and as I spent the time sorting through the hair on her head, not one lice or nit was found. The second I told her I hadn’t found anything, she instantly felt relief and the “crawlies” stopped. (Peace of mind can go a loooong way. Its amazing what our minds can do to us!)

Next, we were on to the daughter. I barely looked and saw nits all over this poor girl’s head. I drenched her hair in the oil and began combing through her hair. As I wiped the comb off after each swipe the mother looked horrified at what I was finding. She told her daughter that she would be out of school for the next week, she wouldn’t be able to see her friends, she wouldn’t be able to go to the water park with the family……WRONG.

It’s a common misconception that lice will stay around for a while and therefore, you can’t engage in everyday activities for a certain period of time. In reality, lice can be gone in hours (through the physical labor of picking them out), and the nits (if any left) can be managed and “put to rest” over night.

She kept asking “Is that normal?? Is it bad??” I assured her that this was normal, and this was my job. That after I was done she wouldn’t have a problem anymore. Every few minutes she would ask “how many have you found?” So, we decided to start a little game.

For an 8 year old to sit there with her hair being sorted through can be stressful for everyone involved, so to keep her distracted (per her request), we counted each and every nit I pulled. The mother had made a good effort at clearing the girl’s head the night prior, but the nits had definitely made their presence known. Through the first section, 1…2…3…4……56. The mother screamed “Oh my word?! 56 just in the first section?? That’s disgusting! You need to start cleaning your hair better!”

Again, WRONG. Lice actually prefer clean hair. girl with brown hair smiling and holding a feather duster.Clean conditions make it easier for them to make their way around the scalp and find their homes to lay nits. It also makes it easier for them to feed since lice crawl around the scalp and eat the blood by biting the scalp. With dirty hair, it is more difficult for the lice to climb up the hair and then make their way around.

I informed the family of this and included the little girl. I assured her “this just means you have the cleanest hair in the house, since they chose you. You’re not dirty; this is nothing to be ashamed of. Anyone can get lice. Lice happens!”

At the end of our lice removal session, she had a fun time tormenting her family as she PROUDLY proclaimed that she had 284 nits found in her hair. The numbers mean nothing. Don’t sweat it if you find 5 nits or 500 nits. Nits can be managed no matter the amount.

Having lice sucks. (literally!). Nobody wants it. Nobody likes it. woman with long brown braid smiling broadly giving a thumbs-up hand sign.Thankfully we’ve figured out what lice hate the most and, therefore, can get rid of them and keep them away. And remember, you’re not dirty if you have lice. In fact, take it as a compliment that they chose your clean scalp to make their home! wink

With a visit from LiceDoctors, the lice will be gone in the same day (with follow up care, of course, to ensure no nits will emerge into lice and start this process all over again) and you can continue your normal life without having to miss out on anything. Call today for a house call in the Vacaville area at 415-578-1245 .