Nothing But the Truth - Head Lice Myths Exposed

Finding out your child has head lice is a very upsetting situation for many people. As parents, we feel guilty, stressed, disgusted, scared and confused. Our immediate reaction is to tell only a few trusted friends or relatives or to seek advice from the internet. Unfortunately these sources can be misinforming, resulting in potentially dangerous treatments and unnecessary time consuming tasks. Sadly, these protocols never fully remove the lice. The following is a list of myths regarding lice removal as well as scientific explanations for why theses myths just don’t hold water.


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+ Shaving my child’s head will fully remove the problem.

Please do not resort to this form of treatment unless your child is fully on board. Some boys don’t mind; most girls will find this extremely distressing and embarrassing. Hair must be shaved to within 1mm of the scalp since lice can live in as little as 2mm of hair if they are already established on the head. The environment must also be cleaned as per our recommendations.

+ My child swims all the time; that should kill the lice.

Remember lice can close their air holes and remain alive for up to 8 hours. Also, the chlorine in a pool is nowhere near the concentration needed to kill lice.

+ Only young children contract lice.

Anyone can contract lice – male or female - newborns to senior citizens.

+ Freezing Lice is an effective treatment.

Freezing lice only makes them go dormant and they will reawaken when they thaw out.

+ Using a straightener or blow dryer works.

You would burn your scalp before you kill the lice. The eggs are laid in the first 2mm of hair.

+ Only dirty people get lice.

Head lice prefer clean people because they breathe through holes in their skin. If dirt, oils and grease from your hair clog these holes they become starved for oxygen and move on or die. Avoiding lice, is however, not a socially acceptable reason not to wash your hair.

+ Any treatment I find at the pharmacy will be safe and effective at killing lice and their eggs.

First of all, there are no store-bought treatments that will kill all the eggs no matter what they claim. The eggs must be manually removed with an effective comb and conditioner. Many store-bought treatments contain the pesticides, lindane (a carcinogen) or pyrethrins, (a neurotoxin) and can be safely used only 3 times in your entire life. Not only are they dangerous but the lice have developed a resistance to these substances. Be sure to purchase a toxin free product or call the experts at Lice Services who utilize a safe and effective enzyme based treatment appropriate for all ages.

+ Colouring my hair is an effective lice preventative or treatment.

This doesn’t work. We just end up with pretty coloured lice.

+ I feel so alone. My child seems to be the only one who gets lice.

After the common cold, lice, is the second most common communicable affliction among school-aged children. Most children will experience lice at least once during their time in school. Many will find this to be a recurring problem but in no way is it determined by the child’s cleanliness, race, soap or shampoo used.

+ Lice will run its course if I just ignore it.

Lice only continue to get worse until they are literally falling off your head. Extreme cases can be upwards of 20,000 to 25,000 bugs/eggs on one head.

+ Home remedies such as mayonnaise, vegetable oils, kerosene, vodka, mineral oil or hair gel are just as effective as store bought or Lice Service treatments.

Oil based substances such as mayonnaise, hair gel or vegetable oils must be left on the head for at least 8 hours in order to effectively suffocate the lice. This can be a messy and time-consuming process. Bacteria in mayonnaise doubles every 20 minutes when exposed to the heat from your child’s head resulting in dangerously high levels of microorganisms sitting on the open sores from the lice bites on his/her scalp. Kerosene, though a dangerous poison in itself, leaves an oily residue that sublimates over several weeks leaving your child’s hair very vulnerable to fire.

+ I don’t have lice, I’m not itchy.

A certain percentage of people are not at all itchy due to the lice bites; others, will be scratching all the time.