10 myths about head lice and nits

Posted in Kids Health.

“Look out, your daughter has long hair. She’ll be like a red rag to a bull in head lice season – poor you!” There are as many old wives’ tales to do with head lice as there are of the pesky little critters themselves! Oh, and it makes no difference if your child has long or short hair. Nits aren’t discriminatory when it comes to hair style.

Here are 10 myths to do with head lice, so you can get on with getting rid of them the way you should.

1. Nits thrive in dirty hair

Nope. Clean hair, short hair, red hair, it doesn’t matter, lice just lurve hair. Period. 

Don’t tell the kids though – they might use it as an excuse to get out of hair washing night!

Girl on swing

2. Lice fly or jump between kids

You can tell Aunty Edwina that this one is absolutely a myth. Lice do not have wings, nor do they leap like insect superheroes from scalp to scalp. They crawl and so direct head-to-head contact is usually how they spread.

3. A dirty home breeds lice

Relax! You don’t need to spring clean your abode. An untidy home or the questionable hygiene habits of those living within it will not make you all more at risk of contracting head lice. Even Martha Stewart has had her dealings with lice. 

4. Washing hair will get rid of them

Hell no. We’re talking about determined little suckers who will cling for dear life onto hair follicles as you lather up your child’s head. Also, the nits (or eggs) are extremely sticky. See? Determined.

The best way to kill them and hence rid them from your life is through proper medicated treatments like Hedrin. We like Hedrin 15 as it only takes 15 minutes, doesn’t smell, and is easy to apply. There is no annoying combing and it’s safe to the skin – it can even be used on little ones as young as six months old. 

Little boy washing hair

5. An itchy scalp means lice!

Not necessarily! It could mean your child just has dandruff. And guess what? Even if she’s not scratching her head, your child may still be the one to blame for everyone bringing them home from kindy. Not all kids scratch with lice.

6. You can get head lice from the dog

Even if Rover has lice, it doesn’t mean your whole household will too. You can’t ‘catch’ head lice from pets and your furry family members can’t get them from you.

7. Lice carry diseases

No, thankfully they don’t. They are bothersome enough on their own without also spreading disease! 

8. To kill lice, you must freeze everything belonging to your child

Once upon a time, people seriously believed this and would freeze their child’s hairbrush, pillow slip, clothing and so forth. The thinking was that if you froze these things for a period of several weeks they would die. It is understood today that lice do not survive very long away from their host so there’s no need to freeze things – you can have the space in the freezer again for zooper doopers. 

If you are facing a lice infestation in your home, simply vacuum anything you think your child may have rested her head on. Wash her bedding and towels in hot water and toss them in the dryer to kill any lice or nits.

9. Head lice is a school kid thing

Sorry to burst this bubble, but head lice can happen at any stage of childhood. There can be an outbreak anywhere your little one has head-to-head contact or shares things like combs, bedding, towels and hair accessories.  Daycare centres  and preschools are not immune. 

Sisters at daycare

10. Children with lice should be quarantined

People used to think that children with head lice should be kept home from school and isolated until all the nits were gone. But since lice can’t jump or fly, the best way to avoid them spreading is through proper head lice treatments and taking precautions like not sharing personal items. 

If your child’s school or kindy has a ‘no nits’ policy, once you have begun treatment to eradicate lice, your child can return to their regular routine. 


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