The 5 Myths About Head Lice
Myth No. 1: Lice can jump and fly.
Lice crawl. Period. They move from one head to another by grabbing onto a passing hair with one of their six claws. For that to happen, two heads have to be close enough for hair to touch. So if you don't touch heads with an infested person, the chances of you getting lice are extremely low.
Myth No. 2: Only kids get lice.
Based on treatments at Lice Clinics of America, just half of head-lice infestations happen to school-age kids. The other half happens to parents (usually the moms) and older siblings. Teenagers and college students who spend a lot of time putting their heads together for selfies and other activities are also not immune.
Myth No. 3: Lice spread disease.
They don't. There are three types of lice that feed off humans, and only the body louse can transmit disease (which can kill you).
Myth No. 4: Lice can infest a house.
Research shows that most head lice, which need to feed on human blood every three to four hours, die within 15-24 hours off their host. If a louse accidentally comes off ahead, it is highly unlikely that it will be able to make it back onto a head before dehydrating and dying.
Myth No. 5: Pesticides can't kill Super Lice.
So let's get back to this Super Lice myth. There are lots of pesticides around the world that can kill these lice. Unfortunately, most aren't widely available in the U.S. or approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Seventy-two percent of OTC lice products sold in the United States contain either permethrin or pyrethrum. These pesticides used to be extremely effective at killing lice. But after decades of overuse, they now are effective less than 45 percent of the time, and that is after multiple treatments.
In the past decade, a number of "all-natural" products have hit the U.S. market to address this problem. Unfortunately, many of these products use essential oils to kill lice. These products should be avoided because the essential oils kill lice using neurotoxic means without regulation by the FDA for safety and efficacy.
The 5 Myths About Head Lice
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that up to 12 million children in the U.S. aged 3 to 12 are infested with head lice each year.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has found that kids with lice should not have to leave school if they have the annoying critters in their heads — even though they can, and likely will, cause other classmates to get infested.
Head lice are small insects that live on the human scalp, feeding on blood several times a day.
Females lay lice eggs in the scalp that firmly attach to the hair shaft by a glue-like substance. They are oval-shaped and hard to see. Lice eggs often appear yellow or white. Lice eggs usually take eight to nine days to hatch.
A nymph is a young louse that has recently hatched from a lice egg. A nymph looks like an adult head louse, only smaller. Nymphs, like adult lice, must feed on human blood to survive. Nymphs mature into adult lice nine to 12 days after hatching.
Lice live for approximately 30 days on a host and a female louse may lay up to 100 eggs.
Head lice are clear in color when hatched, then quickly develop a reddish-brown color after feeding. They are the size of a sesame seed.
A head louse will not survive for more than 24 hours off its human host.
Lice are a pain, but they’re not dangerous. They don’t carry disease. Our society associates lice with filth and that is false. Lice like clean hair.
Warn your child not to share hats, brushes, pillows (think camp) with friends. Lice can’t fly. They crawl.
Your dog or cat can’t get lice.
There are organic products you can use to help deter lice, but not prevent lice. Lice don’t like the smell of rosemary or mint.
Lice need blood to survive, so unlike bed bugs, they can’t survive or breed in linens or on furniture or rugs. However, strip the bed and wash everything in hot water, and dry in high temp.
Comb, brushes, hair ties, caps can be put in a zip-lock bag and put in the freezer overnight.
Oxford University study now shows “Super Lice” in 48 states.