Updated on June 25, 2020
We get it. You are upset that you have lice and it’s not only creepy but you don’t even want to tell anyone. Let us assure you that more people than you know about have head lice or have had it in the past. It’s actually quite common.
Anyone can get lice, right? Of course! Unfortunately, most people have a lot of misconceptions about how people get lice, who can get lice, and how many people have lice. Actually, the CDC reports that up to 12 million children, older than 2 and younger than 12, have head lice each year. CDC.gov
This number is likely low. Most people do not report their cases and there are so many ways that people use to try to treat lice, that there is no accurate means of tracking the incidence of lice. In addition, because some people have no symptoms, they may be walking around with lice for months without even knowing it. In other words, if you or you child has head lice, you are not alone!
Misconceptions About Who Can Get Lice
The most common mistake is that people who get lice are dirty or don't wash their hair, so therefore they get lice. Actually that is so far from the truth; in reality, lice love any hair they can get into! The cleanest hair or even dirty hair, straight and curly hair, they are not picky! If they have any preference, it would be that lice find it easier to get into hair that is clean. This is why we recommend that you make your hair “artificially dirty” by covering it with gel or another protective coating. Their short claws grasp the hair and use it to climb to the top for their lunch...for their food: human blood. Imagine that you are climbing a rope. Wouldn’t it be easier to make it to the top if the rope is clean and dry? If it is oily, you will likely slide down. Ten Facts About Lice You May Not Know
Other misconceptions include that head lice only affect the poor therefore I am safe. Again not true. Anyone can get head lice, kids and adults alike; your socioeconomic class is irrelevant. Body lice, on the other hand, are related to socioeconomic class. People who live in shelters in close proximity are prone to getting body lice.
Body lice transmission occurs through direct contact with a person who has body lice. Body lice may also spread through vectors like pillows, bedding, and clothes that have been had contact with a person that has body lice. In the United States, actual infestation with body lice tends to happen with homeless people who can not bathe and change clothes regularly.
Unlike head lice, body lice can transmit disease. These parasites have carried illnesses such as typhus and louse-borne relapsing fever (mostly commonly found in regions where climate, poverty, and social customs or war and social upheaval prevent regular changes and laundering of clothing. CDC.gov
The most common way to get head lice is from direct head to head contact. So if your child is out in the world, going to school, camp, sports, social dates, etc, then she or he is a candidate for head lice, even if you are a billionaire. What do these famous and wealthy people have in common: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Courtney Cox, Heidi Klum, Madonna, Britney Spears, Rob Pattinson, and Kelly Ripa, among others? You guessed it! They and/or their kids have had head lice.
This leads to the next misconception, which is that lice can jump or fly into someone's hair; that is not true. Lice can only crawl to get where they are going because they do not have wings. They move very quickly, though, and they hightail out of sight when a light is aimed at them. “Lice do not hop or fly but can crawl at a rapid rate (23 cm/min under natural conditions” NCBI US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
Many people assume that lice are living around their house. You can find lice on the bedding, on the chairs, in the clothes hamper, on the toys and dolls...right? Wrong. Lice can only survive off of a human head for 24 hours, maximum, and they will more likely live off the head for only 8 hours. While bed bugs will linger on the bed, chairs, and rugs for weeks, head lice need human blood many times a day. Bed bugs can go days without blood and will likely bite your legs and arms when they do feed.
Bed bugs can go without feeding for 20 to 400 days, depending on temperature and humidity. Older stages of nymphs can survive longer without feeding than younger ones, and adults have survived without food for more than 400 days in the laboratory at low temperatures.
Another misconception is that lice can spread to your pets, again not true. Your cat or dog can not get head lice. Lice can not survive on an animal as the body temperature is not conducive. Lice can only live on a person’s head where the temperature is calibrated to theirs and where the blood that they live on is housed. So pick up your kitty or pup; you do not have to worry about lice transmission from him/her.
Another rather scary misconception is that lice can carry and spread disease, but I am happy to report that they cannot. Yes, they feed off of our blood, but no they do not spread diseases. If you scratch the lice bites hard enough, though, you can get an infection. Try to refrain from scratching, tempting though it might be. Also amazingly enough, lice can hold their breath for up to 6-8 hours and this is why when we shampoo and condition our hair in the shower or bath, they don't drown in the water.
Lice also can not be transmitted by water in a pool and chlorine will not kill lice. Do not think that by sending your kid into the water at the town pool that she will be lice-free when she gets out. Chlorine is not a lice treatment.
Lice mutate with time to protect themselves from all sorts of chemicals. Their ability to morph is one reason why they have been around so long. Just as other chemical lice treatments do not affect lice in many cases, neither does chlorine kill lice. The good news is lice cannot spread in swimming pools.
Another misconception is that people with dyed hair can not get lice. That is false. I know that because I have treated many people with color in their hair who have head lice. Hair dye may kill some lice, but not all of them. It also cannot harm nits because of the barrier that nits have to protect the baby bug inside. People who have dyed hair are at the same risk as people who do not color their hair.
Here’s another myth: heat treatment is a great way to get rid of lice; just throw your clothes in the dryer and aim a hair dryer at your head. You will not not get rid of lice with a hair dryer. That is not a treatment that kills lice and eggs. The only way to eradicate lice is to conduct a thorough lice removal process and for that you need to know how to remove eggs or how to pick up your cell and call in a professional.
You Are Not Alone If You Have Head Lice
The truth of the matter is that lice have been around humans for as long as we have been around. A nit was discovered on an ancient Egyptian mummy from 8,000 BC. We don't know exactly when head lice made their first appearance in the world, but we do know they have been around us for a very long time now. We are their hosts and they will always find a way to spread as this is their means of survival. Without us they cannot survive, this means that somewhere out there at any given time many people are walking around with lice and some don’t even know it! Not everyone who has lice is itchy.
As we mentioned earlier, millions of young children are the victims of head lice transmission each year. Children are more vulnerable than adults to getting head lice because they are in close proximity to their peers. Adults also can get lice and you will find lice in the elderly, as well. Usually adults contract lice from their children or grandchildren. Just keep in mind that many people have head lice at any given time.
The incidence of lice has increased over the years due to the trend of lice becoming more resistant to chemical lice treatments. Since so many people are unaware that these lice treatments are not effective, they assume that they have gotten rid of the lice permanently, that is until they see more in the hair. These unsuspecting people are out there carrying around an active case and possibly transmitting lice to others. As long as this is the case, there will always be head lice being passed around.
You May Not Be Alone, But You Still Want To Get Rid Of Your Head Lice Today!
Don't worry though, if you have gotten head lice or your kids have come home with it, just know that you are not the only ones with lice and will not be the last! Take a deep breath, relax, and call LiceDoctors to eradicate the lice from your family. Techs use proven techniques and even offer a guarantee on lice removal. It is also a safe and environmentally friendly way to get rid of this lice outbreak permanently.
Are you wondering, “How do I find a lice treatment near me?” We can help you with that. LiceDoctors offers the best lice treatment right in your home. LiceDoctors sends a lice specialist to you, so there's no embarrassment of going to a lice place, such as a lice clinic or salon, and being spotted by a nosy friend or your non-affected child picking up a case. You are entitled to your privacy and we make sure that you get it.
We here at Lice Doctors understand your discomfort with lice and have the solution for your family. Your lice specialist will use a methodical treatment protocol that will leave you free of lice. One of the best qualities of LiceDoctors hair lice treatment is that it is safe for babies all they way to the elderly. WhIle we treat everyone who has lice, we specialize in lice treatment for kids. We love kids and your technician will engage your kids so that they are happy during their treatment. In addition, you will not be contagious after 1 treatment. Call today in Spring Hill and Columbia or anywhere in the Nashville vicinity at 615-953-0047 to schedule an appointment with an experienced specialist at your convenience any day or night of the week.