The moment you find out your child has lice, it’s natural for a little panic to set in. Where did the lice come from? How did my child get it? How long have they had it? One of the most common questions we receive from concerned parents is, “Do lice carry disease?”. Today, we’re going to go over some important distinctions to know about head lice, so we can put your mind at ease.
So, Can Head Lice Carry Disease?
In short, the answer is no, head lice do not carry disease. (So, parents, you can breathe a collective sigh of relief here.) Head lice are harmless—and are considered more of a nuisance than a health hazard because they do not transmit or carry disease. As to the reason why they don’t, the answer lies in the fact that head lice are distinctly genetically different from body lice.
Head Lice Are Not the Same as Body Lice
Although body lice and head lice are the same species, body lice can carry disease, but head lice cannot. Body lice are capable of spreading certain diseases such as typhus or trench fever. The reason that body lice carry disease while head lice do not lies in the fact that they each have very different immune systems. Body lice lack a robust immune system and pass bacteria they may be carrying onto humans, whereas head lice are capable of killing or containing any infectious diseases within their system. So, long story short, if your child or family member has head lice, you don’t need to worry about any diseases being transmitted and can rest assured.
Other Popular Misconceptions
Wondering if lice carry disease is not the only concern and misconception we often encounter. Many parents often believe that lice are a result of bad personal hygiene. The truth is that lice are attracted to blood, not dirt or bacteria. Nits and lice cling to hair follicles and have sticky secretions, which means that shampooing alone won’t rid the scalp of lice. This means that there’s no need to be embarrassed about lice because no matter how great a person’s hygiene habits are, they can still get lice.
Another common misperception about lice is in regard to how they spread. It’s extremely important for parents to know that lice cannot jump. Their only “mode of transportation” is crawling. They have no wings and aren’t capable of jumping, which means that a louse cannot jump from one person’s head onto another.
How Can You Protect Your Child?
Since lice can only crawl from one person to another, the majority of head lice cases are spread through direct head-to-head contact. So, it’s important to let your kids know not to put their heads together with other kids. If you want to have an abundance of caution, however, here are a few simple tips for protecting your child:
- Discourage your child from sharing personal hair items such as hairbrushes, combs, barrettes or ribbons, hats, hair elastics, hairpieces/hair extensions, scarves, or even headphones
- Don’t let your child share bedding such as pillows, blankets, or sleeping bags (for younger children taking naptime).
- Make sure your child has their own helmet or hat if they participate in sports, and discourage them from sharing towels if they shower and wash their hair after the game/practice.
Lice Treatment in Jacksonville and Orlando, FL and Savannah, GA
Most parents are relieved to find out that head lice do not spread disease. They are also usually pleasantly surprised to find out how easy it is to help minimize the risk of their child catching lice through taking a few simple precautions. In the event that your child does get lice, however, Fresh Heads is here to help. We are not only committed to empowering our customers with the head lice facts they need, but we also pride ourselves on being a lice service that your family can rely on to help you safely diagnose and treat lice. We help you select the most effective lice treatment option so that you and your child can return to normal life as quickly as possible. Contact us today at one of our Florida or Georgia locations to learn more about our safe and affordable treatment options!
Schools Without Lice
At Fresh Heads Lice Removal, our mission is to get rid of lice in schools across the country. We’ve partnered with Lice Clinics of America to create a program called Schools Without Lice, which gives teaches and nurses free screenings, resources, and treatments. Together, we can have schools without lice!