Fact or Fiction
There are many myths surrounding head lice that still exist, see below some of the more common misconceptions and the reality.
Head lice can only be passed by direct head-to-head contact – they cannot jump, fly, hop or swim
Head lice only survive on heads, dying quickly away from their food source. Adults and nymphs can only survive for 8-24 hours without feeding or they become too dehydrated to survive. They can only be caught from human contact
Having head lice has nothing to do with personal hygiene, head lice can live on all types of hair and no preference exists between clean or dirty hair
Lice like to live close to the scalp and can survive on hair as short as 2mm long, so cutting hair short won’t necessarily help and can be very traumatic for the child
Head lice can only live on human beings, people can’t catch them from animals
A lot of head lice infections are caught from family and friends in the home and local community, not just at school – parents typically start to worry about lice when children go back to school so they are more likely to look for an infection and presume the lice were caught there
Routine head inspections should not be reintroduced. It is simply unfeasible for one person to check a large group of children on a regular enough basis. Weekly checks should be carried out at home, by an adult who thoroughly checks the whole family.