Okay, this might be the part that gives you the heebie jeebies a little bit, but it’s helpful information. Lice, or Pediculosis, affect people of all different kinds of ethnic backgrounds and socio-economic statuses. They are small insects which vary from tan, grayish-white, or reddish-brown in color. To better protect you and your family from future lice infestations, it’s important to know the facts.
- Fact #1: Lice cannot jump or fly! They are wingless creatures and are only able to crawl through the hair on a person’s head. However, they are able to crawl at a fairly quick rate and like to avoid light.
- Fact #2: Lice cannot survive long off a human host. A head louse feeds every 2 to 3 hours and cannot live off a host for more than 48 hours.
- Fact #3: Lice and nits do not live on dogs, cats, or any other household pets. They only feed on human blood.
- Fact #4: Lice prefer clean hair over dirty hair because they are able to better maneuver around the head more easily.
- Fact #5: The chance of infestation or re-infestation from household furniture is very, very small. Lice need to feed on human blood every few hours or they will die from dehydration and starvation and nits need the warmth of the human scalp to live.
- Fact #6: A female head louse can lay 3 to 8 eggs a day or up to 300 eggs in her lifetime. This is why meticulous nit-picking is extremely important in order to prevent re-infestations!
- Fact #7: Children get lice from other children through head to head contact or by sharing hats, scarves, brushes, or hair fasteners.
- Fact #8: Head lice is almost as common as a cold. An estimated 12 million people contract lice infestations each year.
- Fact #9: Nits are tiny. Think of a knot in a thread–that’s how tiny we’re talking. People often confuse them with hairspray droplets, gel, or dandruff.
- Fact #10: Hair products, such as hairsprays and gels will NOT prevent or treat a lice infestation, nor do they prevent nits from sticking to the hair shaft.
- Fact #11: Kerosene and gasoline should NEVER be used in killing lice and will actually harm your child more! They are extremely flammable and poisonous! Safety first, people.
The word “cooties” came from soldiers fighting in France during World War I. A heavy infestation of head lice tormented them, leading to mandated haircuts that were very, very short. This was done to treat and prevent further infestations. Prior to this, soldiers could wear their hair as long as they wanted. Today, very short haircuts are associated with the military. And it’s all because of the cootie!