Myths about head lice

Head lice are tiny insects that live for their entire life on the human scalp. One can get rid of them with proper medications available worldwide. But if left untreated, it may lead to serious medical attention. Mentioned ahead are the popular myths about head lice.

Poor Hygiene and poor parenting causes head liceEven though it is a myth and totally baseless, it is still deeply rooted in our society. Many people believe that having head lice is an indication of poor hygiene and bad parenting. When parents come to know that their kid is infested with head lice, they beat themselves up with this harmful idea that lice have infested because of their poor parenting skills. Anyone can be infested with head lice, whatever their background. Personal hygiene and bad parenting has nothing to do with itLice can jump/flyHead lice cannot jump/fly/hop because they do not have knees and most important of all they do not have wings or grasshopper legs to hop. Head lice can move by crawling and are transferred by contact, either directly or by using other’s comb, hat, furniture or bedding.Scratching/Itching means having liceNits and head lice are often mistaken for dandruff, sand, dust. If a person is infested with head lice, he/she will have no symptoms until 4rth or 6th week. So, if a person is really infested with head lice they will begin scratching only after a month.Fumigating the whole house will kill the liceThis fact does not hold true at all. Although head lice live and feed on humans and animals, but fumigating the whole house is just a waste. The fumes from the pesticide won’t kill either the head lice or the nits (unhatched eggs). It would be better to concentrate on the hair, bedding, hats, toys, and furniture instead.Shaving off the head will solve the lice problemNever ever consider it or do it! Though it is good option which will help eradicate head lice from the root, but it will be traumatic and embarrassing on the child or the adult. They may be bullied and ridiculed about the fact that they have lice and will be probably banned from their social circle. The best option would be to use a head lice shampoo and carefully comb out the nits. Leave the shaving part for the kid.Petroleum Jelly or vaseline is the best way to kill liceThis is an absolutely baseless myth. Using petroleum jelly or Vaseline may smother the head lice, but it will certainly not kill it, in fact, it will take forever to remove it. Every year doctors and pediatric clinics receive desperate calls from parents asking whether they can use Petroleum Jelly or Vaseline and if so then, how to remove them and later how to get rid of the icky sticky Vaseline from their children’s hair.Gasoline or Kerosene is a good head lice treatmentThis is a completely ridiculous way to treat head lice. Every year there are reports that a parent has either maimed or killed their kid because they believe that gasoline or kerosene is an effective and foolproof way to kill head lice and nits. The volatile fumes emanating from gasoline or kerosene will com bust. Therefore, these products should not be applied to the hair or other parts of the body.Lice are dangerous and carry disease and will killTotally rubbish! Head lice infestation is not a life threatening disease. Though head lice causes itching all over the head and scalp and will also give rashes; it doesn’t mean that they are dangerous and carry disease. But, yes there are few serious health risks which can be tackled with medications. They are an irritating nuisance but definitely not a health hazard.Lice die after treatmentThat is what everyone assumes that once a person is treated the head lice will never appear. That is not the true fact. One may get rid of lice after the treatment. But what about the nits? The unhatched eggs? They are still stuck on to the hair. Nits(unhatched eggs) can not be removed or killed either by chemical or non chemical treatment. Nits will hatch only after 7 to 10 days. So, there is much possibility that the young head lice will hatch from the eggs after the initial treatments. So, it is necessary to have more than one treatment to remove the young immature head lice before they breed again. This way one can break the life cycle of the head lice. So, one must keep on continuing the treatment as well as using a close knit comb.

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