Head lice, those small wingless insects that live on the human head or hair, can be a big nuisance. They are common, particularly in small children, and can be horrible to get rid of.
Despite the fact that head lice predates human evolution, there are some common misconceptions surrounding these little bugs.
1. Head lice jumps or flies from person to person.
FACT: Head lice is spread from head to head contact.
2. Linen, hats, clothing and furniture harbour and transmit lice.
FACT: Lice only live on the human head. Their is no benefit in washing items as a treatment option
3. Head lice transmit disease.
FACT: Head lice do not transmit disease. However itchiness and subsequent scratching of the scalp can increase the risk of secondary infection.
4. Head lice is the result of dirty hair and poor hygiene.
FACT: Lice will crawl from head to head without discrimination.
5. Insecticides are the best way to control head lice.
FACT: The easiest and most effective way to find head lice is to use the conditioner and comb treatment. Insecticides can actually have more serious health effects than the lice themselves as they can cause skin irritation.
6. Exclusion from school or childcare is an effective way of breaking the head lice infestation.
FACT: Wrong! Head lice eradication is most effective if the schools and the community work together to treat infestation, for example running a Nitbuster program.
For more information, please visit the New South Wales Health website: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/headlice/Pages/default.aspx