The Root Of The
Lice Problem

Head lice is the red headed stepchild of the childhood ailment world. No one wants to have it and when they do, no one wants to talk about it. As a result, it's a vastly misunderstood problem with many myths associated with it.

Child Scratching Head
I remember the first time I learned about head lice. I was five and a girl in my dance class had gotten it. Fearful that I might catch lice from her, I was instructed to stand at the far end of the room away from her. I certainly didn't what lice was, beyond something bad that you just don't want to catch.

A few years later, mandatory checks in school made my classmates and I uncomfortable. Fortunately, no one was infected. However the same uncertainty and fear of lice from childhood is often what people carry into their adulthood.

What are some misconceptions about lice?

Myth #1: Only dirty children get head lice

Head lice is not associated with a lack of cleanliness. Anyone can get it.

"I always thought that "other people's kids" got head lice. You know, the ones who look like they never wash their hair and are constantly bedraggled looking. Not true. If you have pre-school age kids THEY WILL GET IT. And if you hug your kids -- YOU WILL GET IT TOO!," says Mommy blogger Susanna Cesar of A Modern Mother.

Myth #2: You have to use the pesticides in the store to get rid of lice

Experts say that some strains of lice are getting harder to fight. They say that the lice are becoming resistant to the pesticides sold under brand names like RID. One father told me that for his family, over the counter medications had no effect, forcing them to seek other methods of removal including prescription shampoo and manual removal of nits.

Myth #3: "No nits" policies are in the best interest of kids

In an attempt to prevent the spread of lice in schools, many district adopted "no nits" policies that exclude students from class at the site of any nits, or lice eggs. However, experts say these policies are counterproductive.

Famed Harvard Researcher Richard Pollack says that lice is often misdiagnosed. "Although lice and their eggs may be seen without the help of magnifying devices, the viability of the eggs cannot be judged without magnification and a degree of training. Of more than six hundred samples of presumed lice and nits submitted to us for examination, fewer than two-thirds contained evidence of any infestation," Pollack said in a statement.

Myth #4: You don't need to worry about lice unless someone close to you gets it

Parents should always be aware of head lice because it's such a hushed topic. Diligent parents should conduct head checks roughly every two weeks. The best time to do this is in the bath. Simply shampoo and use a fine tooth comb to comb through your child's hair. Watch for lice falling into the water and check at the nape of the neck and behind the ears for bites.

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Comments on "Myths about head lice"

Edward February 28, 2012 | 3:34 AM

There are loads of myths around at the moment. I think a few I find more interesting are the idea that head lice can jump and that you can get them from pets; both of course aren’t true (although the “jumping” is actually caused by static electricity from combing). It’s strange how getting head lice has become this socially awkward thing, in my mind it’s just a natural occurrence for all kids and parents and one that is fairly easy to fix. I think if you educate your children just to watch out for anyone scratching their head often and to avoid hair contact then you cut your risk significantly. A friend’s kid recently had them so I went to the web to do some searching, for any interested, I did find this page quite helpful: My advice to parents; educate yourself, educate your kids, be prepared and you’ll be fine! And if you do get them then don’t worry. It’s natural and nothing to be ashamed of.

jamie January 02, 2011 | 1:03 AM

I've had to deal with lice for the longest time. I had heard about a number of lice treatment options but was not sure about using any of them as I had heard about the effects of using chemicals on scalp.Also, most treatment options required regular follow ups, which were not an option considering my busy schedule. However Nit Free Noggins single treatment head lice solution was the best solution. They use controlled heated air...a technology, which has been tried and tested for years. It's really good and I suggest it to anyone considering lice treatment. Call 1-855-NIT-FREE or(1-855-648-3733)

jetter October 13, 2010 | 2:30 PM

It took cooperation between the groups was outcome.Do use of chemicals. They are ineffective and dangerous jobs, but only until the child is with someone who has lice. As usual the next day at school. We recommend products to eliminate head lice. I've used this for years, and now our official family produces pickles lice treatment, which has been shown to kill and remove head lice.

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