Every year with the reopening of kindergartens and schools, the problem of head lice also makes it appearance. These parasites which are transmitted only by direct contact and not due to poor hygiene, can live up to thirty days on people’s heads and their eggs can survive for over two weeks.
Allow us to dispel nine myths about the appearance and passing on of lice, particularly in children.
1) Not only children get lice
Firstly we must emphasize that lice do not distinguish between children and adults, much less, between male and female. Anyone who has hair can be affected.
However, it is in kindergarten that most cases of pediculosis (lice infestation) occur. It is estimated that about half of the children under the age of 6 have been “affected”.
2) Hygiene is a determining factor
Yes, bad hygiene having something to do with lice is a big myth. In fact, cleanliness has nothing to do with the transmission of this parasite. Even the cleanest babies, toddlers and children can catch it. Actually it seems that dirty hair may even prevent the lice from moving in. It is advisable to wash children’s hair only twice a week and on that occasion, double check that there are no eggs or parasites.
3) Other diseases
Head lice are not carriers of any disease, they annoy you and that is about it. However, if the child is scratching excessively, it can cause secondary infections from bacteria that are already present in our body.
4) Combs and Brushes carry them
Combs and brushes hardly have the means of transmitting lice. This parasite clings firmly to the hair and combs or brushes are not able to detach it.
It is not true that lice “jump” from one head to another as contact is always a requirement.
5) Animals carry them
Animals can not transmit lice. These parasites live only on humans because they feed on human blood and not that of the animal.
So if you have a dog or cat you have nothing to worry about.
It is recommended to not opt for DIY methods but instead to follow the treatments indicated by your doctor. The best methods are the use of a brush with a fine-tooth made specifically for the removal of eggs and parasites, and the application of a anti-parasitic lotion, prescribed by the doctor.
Water is not sufficient on its own to eliminate the lice. Also, to see if the eggs are full or empty simply look at the color: they are dark if they contain lice, and white if they are empty. In the second case, removal is not necessary.
7) Short Hair
To catch lice all you need is the existence of hair. It makes no difference whether they are long or short. The only way to avoid them is to not have any hair.
So to avoid any unnecessary grief, especially among young ladies, we recommend leaving your hair as it is. Proper care will make the problem disappear without creating further social and emotional discomfort.
8) Dandruff or lice?
Do not confuse dandruff with lice. A simple way to check whether it is dandruff is by blowing on the hair. If it flies away it’s dandruff, but if it remains attached to the hair it can be lice.
9) School and disinfection
First, it is important that the children who are found to have lice are temporarily isolated. After treatment at home they will be able to safely return to school the following day.
There have been cases of environmental disinfection in school: these interventions are completely unnecessary because the life of lice on an object can not exceed 24 hours. It is only on humans that the parasite’s lifespan is longer.