If you were to ignore the tiny details and the true facts, head lice are indeed horrific. They are like tiny little monsters that thankfully, are not bigger than 2-3mm. Even if they are not actually monsters, people still have some misconceptions about them. You should really stop believing some of these head lice myths.
It sounds scary, they are parasites, they need a host to survive and they feed on blood. They hold on to the hairs until killed off completely. They lay eggs on your head. And even the baby lice, the nymphs, also suck blood. But you see, they are not dangerous or deadly in any way. They are just pesky little bugs that affect your confidence and causes irritation.
Many dermatologists and head lice clinics have proven multiple times that even though head lice are common, they are treatable and can be easily prevented. It’s just the matter of right diagnosis at the right moment.
Knowing the true facts will help you choose and apply the right treatment. It is best to avoid the myths and see what could be done to improve the condition as soon as possible. Here are some common misconceptions about head lice that people need to stop following-
Myth no. 1 – Head Lice Causes Health Problems
Unlike their cousins, body lice and pubic lice, head lice are not known to cause any health issues. Even the excessive itching that comes with head lice only affects people who are allergic to head lice bites.
Head lice don’t spread diseases or viruses like mosquitoes do. You are only at the risk of developing secondary skin infection by continuously scratching the head. So avoid it whenever possible.
Myth no. 2 – Poor Hygiene and Dirty Hair Causes Head Lice
This myth is more common that the head lice itself. Head lice are not a result of poor hygiene, dirty hair or surroundings. Yes, having dirtiness can cause other health issues but head lice are not one of them. As long as you have a scalp, some hair and blood rushing through your head, you can get head lice.
Even if you take a shower twice a day while using the most expensive soap, you can get head lice as water and soap has no effect on them. Remember, head lice don’t discriminate. This is an age-old myth that has no place in the modern society.
Myth no. 3 – Lice Can Jump or Fly from Head to Head
No, they don’t. They want to but they can’t because Mother Nature has not provided them with the right tools to do so. The can only crawl from head to head and nowhere else. Their claws are designed to hold on to human hair. They only move when they have another hair in their vicinity.
Direct head-to-head contact, such as kids putting their heads together while playing, is the most common way for head lice to spread from one person to another.
Myth no. 4 – Pets Can Cause Head Lice
Don’t start blaming your dog for giving you or your child head lice. They didn’t. In fact, they can’t. Head lice are considered parasites and a parasite cannot live without its host species. In head lice’s case, it’s us. They only like human blood and scalp.
Myth no. 5 – Only Girls or People with Long Hair Get Head Lice
It is only partially true. As long as you are breathing human being with hair and scalp, you are at the risk of getting an infestation. It doesn’t matter if you are a boy or a girl or if you keep long or short hair.
Having long hair slightly increases the risk of getting head lice as they can cling to it easily. If you or your child has long hair, you can try using braids or ponies as it will keep the hair under control.
Myth no. 6 – Head Lice are found in Playgrounds or Schools
Head lice can’t survive without a human host. They need blood to survive. The max they survive without blood is 36-48 hours. So the chances of your child getting head lice from that nearby playground or in his/her school furniture are close to nil.
They will only get it if they bump head to head with a child infested with head lice. And playgrounds and schools have lots of children.
Myth no. 7 – Itching is a Sure Sign of Infestation
All images and articles of head lice show kids furiously scratching their heads. It has become the international symbol of head lice but this not a true fact. Itching is not a sure way of diagnosing head lice.
Itching can be caused by any scalp condition. It can be due to head lice but there can be many underlying reasons for it like dandruff. If your child is immune to the saliva of the lice then he will not be irritated by the biting. You should start looking for other signs like nits.
Myth no. 8 – Natural Medicine is Better than Normal Treatment
The biggest problem with natural medicine is the lack of definition of the word natural. Many head lice clinics advertise natural and skin friendly medicines for their treatments. But unless that specific medicine is certified by local medical bodies, it is best to avoid them.
Normal over the counter medicines or oils can work just as fine and without any complications as long as they are genuine and has no side effects. You should always consult some specialist if the condition is getting critical.