When your kids come home with head lice, it can be difficult to put their minds at ease when you are not at ease. Head lice are one of the most common conditions for millions of children worldwide. Lice do not discriminate between clean or dirty individuals. Becoming familiar with what head lice are and how they are contracted will put you and your children’s anxieties to rest.
Head Lice Are Common
Head lice are extremely common; there are 6 to 12 million cases of head lice reported annually. Children of school going age are the most susceptible to contracting head lice. Head lice are tiny parasites that can lay up to 10 eggs per day. A louse (singular for lice) can live for up to 4 weeks. Treating head lice is also something that millions of families must do every year. Just knowing these facts and sharing them with your kids will help to reduce the worry and shame often associated with contracting head lice.
Head Lice are Very Contagious
Lice are highly contagious. Head lice are most frequently spread through head to head contact. Children hugging, sharing pillows, or playing together can allow lice to crawl from one head to the next. Many daycare centers and pre-schools offer pillow and nap mats that are shared between children. If one child in the classroom has lice, it will typically spread quickly to the others. The sharing of towels, combs, clothes and hair accessories may also spread lice.
Having Head Lice Doesn’t Make You Dirty
Contradictory to what most people believe, head lice prefer clean hair. Lice can crawl through clean hair with ease to make their way to the scalp to feed, they can also move without restriction from one head to another to breed. This does not stop head lice from making a home on a dirty head though, hygiene has little to no effect on lice, or if your children contract them. These bugs are only in search of hair and scalp to feed on.
Knowing about head lice and sharing this information with your children will help to comfort them.