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Lice FAQ’S

Head lice are not considered to be life threatening, so why is there so much concern?
Head lice are highly contagious. Whether or not we choose to battle them, if we don’t rid ourselves of them we are spreading serious ramifications. Many of those circumstances can lead to other illnesses and yes, in a few situations, even death.
How are head lice spread?
Head lice are primarily spread through head-to-head contact.  That is why communication with those individuals with whom you’ve had recent contact with is so important.
How much concern should I have with regard to sharing items like hats, etc.?
 Less than 2% of lice cases are from sharing items such as hats and personal belongings.  Head lice are primarily spread through head-to-head contact.  Louse can’t live off the head for more than 24 hours.
What can I do to prevent A case of head lice?
 You can take proactive preventative measures.  Pulling the hair back is extremely important.  It closes the bridge of opportunity that invites lice to spread.
Can head lice carry disease?
The fact that head lice have a low morbidity rate certainly reduces the odds of spreading disease.  Some researchers in the field, however, do believe that they carry disease, and studies are being done in that area to prove it.
How do I know if my child has head lice?
 You should be aware of a child’s behavior, watch for the tell-tale signs, check the head on a regular basis, run a lice comb through the hair once or twice a week. 
What do I do if my child has head lice?
 If you do find head lice on your child’s head, take care of the problem right away. Each day wasted is an increased opportunity for reproduction, not to mention the additional chances of spreading to others.

How you treat the problem is entirely up to you. There are a lot of products on the market but remember, many of these contain pesticides. If you feel you must use them, do so sparingly, and be careful to follow all directions. Whether you choose a pesticidal shampoo product or go with one of the newer non-toxic products, it is important to understand that 100% head lice removal cannot occur without hours of painstakingly picking all of the nits out.

Thankfully, many new products have been developed, helping to ease your burden. Among this new generation of lice combs is the Terminator comb. Its patented design helps parents eliminate some 85% of their child’s lice and nits.

 

Another product that continues to draw attention is the Robi Comb. Be careful, however, that while the Robi Comb has proven to be helpful in eliminating live lice (particularly adults), it does little, if anything, to rid the nits.

 

If the thought of all this is making you crazy,  there are several other companies offering nit removal services. While in most cases a cost will occur, the end result is often having it done right the first time, in less time and at a substantial savings compared to the parents’ failed attempts to end their problem. If you are fortunate enough to have nit removal services in your area, don’t hesitate to ask them questions.

 

• Where did you receive your training?
• What method of nit removal do you use?
• Is your treatment process safe?
• What is your success rate?
• Do you provide follow up?
• What guarantees, if any, do you offer?
• What about other family members? Do you check them as well, and if so, is there a charge?
• Be wary of any service that claims to have a 100% success rate, and remember a truly
efficient service will also examine the heads of all members of the family.

 

One last point and probably the most important of all, be careful to notify anyone that might have come in contact with your child.

Does having head lice an indication of poor hygiene?
 Absolutely not!  A case of head lice arises from contact, and has nothing to do with the cleanliness of either one’s house or one’s person.  If anything, it’s just the opposite.  It is much easier for lice to maneuver on a clean head of hair, therefore, they prefer this environment.
Can head lice jump and/or fly?
 No, it’s just another myth often associated with head lice.  It’s anatomically impossible for head lice to jump or fly, as they have no hind legs or wings.
When head lice transfer from one head to another, how soon can they start laying eggs?
 If the head lice are fertilized females, they can and will begin laying eggs immediately.  Another point to keep in mind is that head lice generally travel in harems, often consisting of seven or eight females and one male.  With this many egg-laying females laying eight to ten eggs daily, you can see how what starts as a simple case of head lice can escalate very quickly.  Keep in mind that a female louse only has to mate once and then is always pregnant.
If my son gets head lice, can I just shave his/her head?
 Keep in mind that shaving hair to rid lice does not mean the hair is cut short—it means to shave bald.
How many eggs can a head louse lay in a day?
 A single female louse lays eggs twice a day and four to five eggs each time.  Multiply that by the 10, 20, even 40 or 60 bugs that might be on the head and it’s easy to see how a severe infestation can develop so quickly. 
How long do head lice live?
 An adult head louse can live up to 30 days.
Where do head lice come from?
Nobody knows for sure where head lice originated.  They have been around since the beginning of mankind.  Nits have even been found on the hair of Egyptian mummies. It is even a plaque in the Bible.
How can my child’s school become more involved in this health issue?
 Talk to your child’s school and the school’s nurse.  Address your concerns and let them know that fighting head lice does matter to you.  Remember to do this in a calm, rather than an accusing, manner.  Remain positive and most importantly, work together!  Be careful to stress that your goal is not to place blame, but rather to work with them to help develop more proactive measures in hopes of ensuring that ALL children will have a lice-free environment.

We’ve already used the common products found in our local pharmacy and they didn’t work; why is that?
 Many products currently available have been on the market for about thirty years.  In part because of over use of these over-the-counter products, the bugs have built up a resistance to them.  Regrettably, we were warned over twenty years ago that these products were losing their effectiveness.  User error in proper treatment methods also plays a role in treatment failure.  We must now look for safer and more effective alternatives.
What is the quickest way to get past a case of head lice?
 There is just no shortcut.  The best way to get past it quickly is to not let your guard down.  Tedious, time-consuming nit-picking and checking everyone with whom the person has had contact with is the first step toward eliminating head lice.  Doing the job right the first time is a better choice than rushing through it and then having to do it again and again.  A good comb (when used properly) can eliminate up to 85% of the problem.  Even when you think you have done the job right, don’t let your guard down.  The life cycle of lice is three weeks, so keep checking during that time period. 
Besides itching, what are some other symptoms of head lice?
 Some other symptoms of head lice are low-grade fever, bags under the eyes, swollen glands, a rash at the nape of the neck, and falling asleep after a good night’s sleep.  Head lice are nocturnal, meaning that they are more active at night than during the day.
How much cleaning is necessary if my child has head lice?
 Think of your life in a 24-hour window, and concentrate only on items that were in direct contact during the past 24 hours with the hair of those individuals suffering from head lice.
As an example:  The child was in bed, so you change or wash the sheets.  The child took a bath, so you replace the towel.  Pajamas should also be replaced.  The child brushed his/her hair, so you clean or replace the hairbrush.  Also, if your child sleeps with a stuffed animal or a blanket, throw them into a dryer for 20 to 30 minutes.  As far as carpets and upholstered furniture, just run a quick vacuum or lint roller over them; even throw an old sheet over your child’s favorite chair or seat.  Any of these choices will reduce housework while keeping your home safe.
Is there a head lice season? If so, when?
 While it may seem that we see more cases of head lice during the school months, it is not due to a lice season.  Lice happen all year round.  However, since children have more contact with each other in a class environment than during the summer months, we obviously see an increase in numbers.  Additionally, there are many schools that still enforce head lice policies, therefore making those numbers more obvious.

Adapted from information by the Shepherd Institute for Lice Solution.

Head Lice Myths

Having head lice means you have poor hygiene.

Head lice has absolutely nothing to do with personal hygiene.

Head lice can jump or fly.

Lice do not have wings. They cannot fly or jump. They move by crawling.

Over the counter products and sprays are completely safe.

Most products contain toxic pesticides and can be harmful for us and our children.  There are many non-toxic products available.