When it comes to headlice the only consensus is that they can be very irritating and at times a cause of unease and embarrassment. Otherwise a great deal of conjecture and inaccuracies surround the insects and what - if anything - can eliminate them.
Indeed, myths abound and lead many to question even basic facts, confusion and a difficulty in identifying suitable treatments.
In a bid to differentiate general myths from the true facts of head lice we have addressed some common misconceptions. Separating one from the other may just help efforts to quell an unwelcome outbreak.
BOYS VS. GIRLS
The assumption that women are more prone to contracting headlice than men is simply untrue. It is generally accepted the former will model longer hair of course but there is no data to suggest sex impacts the lay of the louse (4). These wingless insects rely on head-to-head contact to move between people and a greater volume of hair will increase the chances of that happening (12). But length is dependent on the individual and their chosen style, not their gender.
Even then short hair will not necessarily make you less likely to catch them. Lice are known to live on follicles as short as ¼ inch from the scalp (5), meaning only a grade 0 guarantees complete immunity.
On a similar note cleanliness, or rather a lack of it, makes no difference to whether you contract lice or not (3). These creatures feed on blood whether or not surrounding mane is clean.
Intriguingly this myth was turned on its head during the 1970s when literature was distributed purporting that lice preferred clean hair (6). Again, this was and is untrue. The purpose – according to President of the International Society of Phthirapterists Ian Burgess, was to educate the middle class that they too could be afflicted.
Animals meanwhile are susceptible to fleas not lice (1). Rest assured, there is no danger of them transferring lice to you or vice-versa. Louse survive on human blood which is of an altogether different composition to the animal equivalent.
As terrifying as lice can be they cannot fly (1). Surprised? Understandable given this myth has endured. As highlighted above, these critters require head-to-head contact in order to spread their wings – though not literally. As jumping between scalps is impossible and they instead crawl between strands of hair, locking claws into a shaft and climbing it. Rapidly.
OLD WIVES TALES
As with any condition there are make believe remedies that some continue to swear by. Ignore any advice which encourages the application of beer, butter, dog shampoo, garlic, mayonnaise, peanut butter, vinegar, washing-up liquid and the like.
If any of the aforementioned were truly beneficial there would be no need for treatments such as Vamousse Headlice Treatment. It is these which are clinically proven to make a real difference, not an old wives tale.
An itchy scalp is deemed the clearest sign someone is suffering from lice. This is though a side effect noticeable in only a handful of cases. Sure enough around 14-19 percent of infected children complain of a constant need to scratch, this a result of lice feeding (2). A good many more however have no inclination to involve their finger nails.
Headlice can crawl onto personal belongings such as pillows or hair brushes but any vacation will be short-lived. This is because louse can only live off a human head for up to 48 hours (8). Indeed, when deprived of blood from the scalp they soon die with research suggesting they feed every five hours (6).
Nits is actually a term used to describe eggs, not lice themselves. A female louse will typically lay 100 of them in her lifetime and each takes approximately ten days to hatch (9). Obviously, this provides a small window in which a potential outbreak can be stopped in its tracks.
Headlice have been the scourge of humans since the beginning of time. Incredibly traces of them were found in the remains of Egyptian Mummies. Pre-dating even that example was one identified on a Brazilian believed to have died some 10,000 years ago (10). This is anything but a new problem.
As touched upon earlier in this post lice transfer between people when head-to-head contact ensues. What it may surprise you to learn is the speed at which the transition takes place. Remarkably, lice travel at a rate of knots – climbing 23cm in a minute (11). Studies indicate they take just 30 seconds to flit between one human head to another.
Hopefully clarification on a few of the above points will provide a better understanding on lice and how they impact our lives. Knowing your enemy is after all half the battle.
If you or a member of your family are suffering with an outbreak of head lice, Vamousse head lice treatment is clinically proven to kill up to 100% of lice and eggs within 15 minutes, due in part to main ingredients geraniol, isopropyl alcohol and isopropyl myristate.
The protective shampoo meanwhile helps stamp out undetected infestation before it can take hold, when used regularly as part of a daily bath time routine.