When it comes to head lice, there are plenty of misconceptions. These misconceptions - that lice are a sign of bad hygiene or prefer long hair - lead to a stigma around head lice. The reality is, people have a tendency to fear and judge the portions of life that they do not understand. That’s why we at Hair Whisperers - the experts of lice removal in Los Angeles - are here to mythbust some of the greatest misconceptions surrounding lice. As we take time to break down these 5 common head lice myths, we hope to create a culture of understanding around this common issue.
Head lice are parasites that live off of the nutrients in human blood, which they consume from attaching to the base of a strand of hair. After 24 hours without blood, a head louse does not have enough nutrients to survive or reproduce. This means that lice can only survive while in direct contact with the human head. In other words, lice that may have found their way onto a hat or pillowcase cannot survive, reproduce, or do much at all. This means that - for purposes other than giving yourself a ‘clean feeling’ - efforts of washing household fabrics after a lice infestation are unnecessary.
It’s a common misconception that only people with poor hygiene can get head lice. When you consider that lice cannot simply be shampooed away and that a house - in this case a dirty house - cannot give you lice, it becomes clear that poor hygiene being a source of lice is a myth. Lice can only be spread from direct head-to-head contact, which is why children get lice more frequently than adult; children play games, wrestle, rub their heads together, and have sleepovers with other children, all of which often lead to direct contact with another child’s head.
Because this myth leads to a bad stigma around lice, it’s important to remind your children - both in cases where they have lice and if someone in their class has lice - that having lice does not make someone dirty or gross. Lice, as a matter of fact, is much more common than we know. It’s estimated than anywhere from 6 to 12 million people in the US get head lice every year -- on the upper end of that estimate, that’s the equivalent to every person in the state of Pennsylvania having head lice. Informing your child of this stigma and helping them break it will not only help them be comfortable with their own case of head lice, but can help prevent bullying of a child in their class with head lice.
It’s easy to think that since lice are found in human hair, longer hair is more likely to have lice. However, lice are not attracted to the hair itself; they are attracted to the scalp. As parasites that feed off human blood, lice cling the the head for two specific reasons:
Because of these reasons, it’s clear that lice don’t have a huge preference in short of long hair -- they just need enough hair to latch on. Lice are tiny little creatures, meaning they don’t need much hair at all when choosing a host scalp.
This misconception is pretty simple to bust; lice do not have wings and their leg to body ratio does not support an ability to jump from one head to another. Lice can only be spread from head to head contact with another person who has lice. Many parents and children develop this misconception through a school not allowing students with lice to attend school. However, children - especially in lower grade levels when recess is still a part of the standard school day - tend to play in close quarters to one another, which can cause the spread of head lice.
When it comes to treating lice, you have a few options -- but not all of them are great options. Lice shampoos, specifically, are not an effective tool for treating lice because lice have developed an immunity to the chemicals inside the shampoo. These chemicals no longer kill the lice, and also expose your child to dangerous, carcinogenic chemicals in the process. For this reason, the most trusted technique is removal by hand using the combing method. Hair Whisperers - the most trusted professional lice removal in Los Angeles - has have more than 15 years of experience in treating lice and can help get your student back in school as soon as possible. No chemicals, no waiting game, just thorough treatment in the comfort of your own home.
Ready to treat lice the right way? Get in contact with the Hair Whisperers for lice removal in Los Angeles. If you don’t have lice right now, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram, where we share informative articles about head lice, community information, and more.