If you’ve got kids, it’s highly likely you’ve received (or someday will) a dreaded notification about head lice in a classroom, camp, or daycare. Before canceling play dates, fumigating your home, tossing linens, clothing, brushes, and beloved stuffed animals, here are a few things you need to know about those itchy little pests.
Myth: Lice infect dirty people and make them sick.
FALSE Lice aren’t picky, and are happy to make their homes on the cleanest and dirtiest of heads. Luckily, lice don’t transmit diseases of any kind, so they’re not dangerous.
Myth: Lice can JUMP into hair.
FALSE Great news for everyone: lice can only crawl—no flying or jumping like other insects! This means the only way lice can get into your hair is by crawling directly from someone else’s head (or stuff that was recently on their head).
Myth: You can get lice by being near someone with lice.
FALSE Since lice only crawl, you’re safe to be near someone with lice (so long as you don’t make head-to-head contact). Standing around, talking, and even shaking hands is fine! However, long, snuggling hugs are best saved until after they’ve had their hair treated.
Myth: You can get lice just being in a home with lice.
FALSE Lice rarely leave peoples’ heads because they need their hosts for warmth and food, so you won’t find them wandering around. On rare occasions, lice do get caught on hats, scarves, pillows, towels, and hair brushes, so it’s best to never share such items with anyone.
Myth: You can get lice by touching infected items.
FALSE Lice must be near your hair to crawl in, so touching infected brushes, pillows, and other items is fine…just don’t place them on your head! On the rare occasions that lice do infect items, they die in only two days.
Myth: There’s nothing you can do to prevent getting lice.
FALSE There are two simple rules to keep your hair bug free: 1) Avoid touching heads with other people. 2) Don’t share items people use on their heads. Unfortunately, it’s more difficult to stick to these rules with loved ones, especially young children, so remind them regularly. Hair products with lice-repelling fragrances, such as Fairy Tales Hair Leave-In Spray, can be a great extra precaution for young kids going into places you can’t control (such as sleepovers, camps, daycare centers, and schools).