"It all starts with an itchy scalp."
Not always. Contrarily to common belief, the itchiness isn't due to lice biting the scalp, but to an allergic reaction to lice and their droppings. However, not everyone develop an allergy. That explains why, in some people, head lice run under the radar for some time before being detected.
"It's a childhood pest."
Head lice are more frequent in school age children, but virtually everyone with hair on the head has a chance to contract them at some point in their life. So no need to be embarrassed about it. It is way more common than you may think. Teachers, parents and people working closely with children are more at risk too.
"Head lice live on dirty, untidy and unkempt hair."
No, head lice do not favour dirty hair. Contracting head lice has nothing to do with personal hygiene.
"There are 'lice heads'."
There again, NO, head lice do not prefer a type of hair over another. However, they are far easier to spot on thin, blond, straight hair than in a joyous mop of thick, curly, dark strands. Hence the difficulty to notice them and treat them when they take up residence in a glorious mane.
"Nits, Lice, it's all the same."
Nits are not lice. Nits are lice eggs. A female louse can lay three to five eggs a day, twice a day. The louse literally superglues its eggs to the hair shaft. This is why nits are so hard to brush off. Eggs hatch after 8 days and the new born becomes fully adult and able to reproduce after another 8 days... Do the maths. Hello, infestation.
"Lice are actually dangerous."
Lice are a parasite of human being. They're annoying, but they do not spread disease. However, they contribute to secondary skin infections from scratching and the itching itself may cause bad quality sleep and subsequent irritability and fatigue.
"Lice jump from head to head."
Wrong. Lice are not fleas. They do not jump and they do not fly either. They spread from head to head through direct hair contact (such as hugging, wrestling) and by sharing clothing and hair accessories (hats, beanies hair brushes and combs)
"You have to fumigate your house to get rid of lice.
No you don't. Fact: Head lice are unable to survive more than 48 hours without a human host. That means that a school deserted of any human presence over a week-end is technically lice-free by Monday morning.
- Soak all clothes and bedding in a 20 litre bucket of hot water with half-a-cup of white vinegar for 24 hours. Throw everything in your washing machine and wash as usual. Add another half-cup of white vinegar and three drops of tea tree or lavender essential oil in the fabric softener compartment for a last nice rinse.
- Throw all soft toys in a tightly closed plastic bag and leave them in quarantine in the garage for at least 48 hours. That should suffice to annihilate any loose louse.
- Clean up your carpet with a steam mop on high. Vacuum well.
- Spray pillows, sofas, armchairs, curtains, rugs and couches with this natural disinfectant:
Natural Disinfectant Spray Recipe:
250ml white vinegar
20 drops tea tree or lavender essential oil.
Put the blend in a spray bottle, shake well and spray liberally onto your soft furnishing. Leave it overnight. Vacuum well. (better to test the blend out on a hidden corner of your curtains and furniture... you don't want tea tree essential oil to discolour them)
Head Lice and Nits are nearly inevitable. Everyone at some point in their life has been or will be in contact with them. These pesky parasites have been around for as long as mankind has been around.
Did you know? Archeologists have even found dead lice and nits on the hair of Egyptian mummies!... And lice combs have been found in ancient Egyptians tombs alongside other daily utensils. So no worries, as annoying as they are, nits and lice have always been very common, and mankind has always used the same way to comb them off.
If you don't feel like drenching your child's head in chemicals or in kerosene (like it was the fashion in the 1900's!), stay tuned! Our next post will give you a killer NATURAL recipe to get rid of them!
Do you have another myth in mind about nits and lice? Leave us a comment and share this post if you found it useful... some people may need it!