5 Common Head Lice Myths Debunked

Aug 27 • 2015

Summer has ended and children are returning to school, which means increased contact with germs and other health issues that other kids may bring into the classroom. One big concern for many parents is head lice. Lice are small insects that live on the scalp and are most often found on children ages 10 and under. These bugs feed on human blood and grasp onto the scalp hair, finding a blood vessel in the skin. Unfortunately, some of the most popular beliefs about head lice are actually misconceptions. We’ve debunked some of the most common head lice myths below:

  1. People who are dirty are more likely to get head lice.
    This is one of the most common misconceptions about lice. The truth is, your likelihood of getting head lice has nothing to do with your hygiene. Instead, it has to do with whether you were exposed to someone else who had it. Lice make their home on your scalp looking for blood. This need does not change depending on your hygiene habits.
  2. Lice can fly and jump from one person to another.
    Lice cannot do either of these things – they only crawl. Because of this, kids are more likely to have lice than adults because they touch heads when they interact. Activities like sleepovers or sharing a pillow are great opportunities for lice to transfer from one head to another.
  3. Lice can infest your entire home.
    Lice most likely do not leave a scalp on their own. Instead, they are probably brushed off onto a pillow where they are then transferred to another head. Because of this, there is no need to throw away or wash everything in your home if a family member had lice. However, is a good idea to wash your bedding to remove any droppings.
  4. Itching is the first warning sign.
    For many people, itching does not occur at all when a head lice infestation happens. Other people find that itching does not start until a few weeks after the infestation began. Because of this, it’s important to do periodic lice checks so you are more likely to catch an issue early.
  5. You need an over-the-counter shampoo to get rid of head lice.
    There are a variety of shampoos on the market to get rid of lice, but not all of them work all the time. Some lice have developed a resistance to the active ingredients in many of these products. Plus, they don’t kill all of the eggs that are left behind. The best option for ridding your scalp of lice is combing the hair with a fine-toothed metal comb. This can be tedious, but it removes all of the lice and eggs from the hair shaft. You can also take your child to a specialist who will do the job for you and show you how to continue combing over the following weeks.