There are a lot of myths and misconceptions when it comes to head lice, and as parents we know you’ve already got enough things to worry about! So we've debugged some of the popular head lice myths to help you sleep easier at night.
Myth #1 – Head lice are a sign of poor personal hygiene.
This myth is FALSE!
You may have heard before that head lice are a sign of dirty hair or poor personal hygiene, but these factors don’t contribute to having lice! Head lice don’t discriminate against hair types. Clean, dirty, long, curly, straight or short – head lice will still attach to your hair. All head lice are after is a warm place to lay their eggs, some hair to grip onto and a regular meal from the scalp.
Myth #2 – You will always have an itchy scalp if you have head lice.
This myth is FALSE!
An itchy scalp isn’t a sure tell sign that your child has head lice. Only around half of the people who get head lice will have an itchy scalp and if your child does get itchy it’s often not until it’s brought to their attention that they have lice.
For those who do get an itchy scalp, the itchiness may not begin until a few weeks into the infestation. This is why it’s also important to do regular checks for head lice, as itching won’t always happen as a warning sign and the earlier you catch an infestation the easier it is to treat.
Essential Kids. (2017). Untangling the myths about head lice.
Myth #3 - A child with head lice must be kept home from school.
This myth is FALSE!
The Australian government guidelines state that parents must be informed about a suspected head lice infestation if it’s discovered at school, but there’s no need for the child to be sent home early. The child will need to be treated for head lice as soon as possible and before they return to preschool, school or childcare. If the child’s hair is treated with a reliable head lice treatment, such as Licener, before the next day they don’t need to be kept home following the treatment.
If teachers suspect that a child has head lice, they can take precautionary measures to try and prevent the spreading of head lice. For instance, they might help the child avoid direct head to head contact by encouraging the whole class to participate in activities that don’t include head to head contact.
Myth #4 – Head lice can jump or fly from head to head.
This myth is FALSE!
Head lice aren’t acrobats; they don’t jump from head to head, nor do they have wings so they can’t fly around. The only way head lice can be transmitted is by crawling from hair strand to hair strand.
Head lice cling closely to the human scalp and use their claws to stay attached to hair strands. Direct head to head contact through for example playing, hugging, working closely together or speaking closely is the only way that head lice will spread.
Even though head lice can’t fly or jump, they do spread easily. Keeping a bottle of Licener in the cupboard during the school terms can help to prevent a few lice turning into an infestation!
Australian Government. (2017). Head lice management guidelines for schools.
Myth #5 – Head lice live in carpets, beds, clothes and couches.
This myth is FALSE!
Head lice are called head lice for a reason; they live on a human head. To survive, they need to feed with blood, and they get this from living on the scalp. If a louse happens to fall from their host’s head onto another surface, it’s likely the louse will become very weak. In saying this, it is possible for head lice to survive off of a human head, but research has shown that they would quickly dehydrate and die if they’re removed from the scalp.
Myth #6 – Your children are more likely to get head lice than you are.
This myth is TRUE!
Children are more likely to get head lice because of the activities they participate in and the environment in which they spend their day-to-day life – school. Head to head contact is extremely common in schools, and as we know, this is how head lice are spread. At school kids are playing games, telling secrets and playing sports in the schoolyard, which results in more head to head contact.
This doesn’t mean that parents, adults and young adults can’t get head lice! As we mentioned last month, head lice don’t discriminate. It’s important to always keep a bottle of Licener on hand in case you or your kids need to stop an infestation!
New South Wales Government. (2017). Head lice treatment.
This easy recipe by Martha Stewart for heart-shaped toast and eggs is perfect for Mother’s Day breakfast. It only requires 5 ingredients, a cookie cutter, spatula and tongs.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
If you want to add a little more love to this recipe, try:
Stewart, M. (2009). Heart-shaped Eggs and Toast.
While kids are getting excited (and maybe slightly nervous) for their first day back at school, parents are often running around trying to get everything organised for the big day. We’ve put together our top 5 back to school tips to make sure you and your kids are prepared for the year ahead.
1. Create a routine
Having a routine is important. It encourages good habits and provides a structure to your day. Creating a routine at the beginning of the year will help your kids get off to the best possible start. Organise a time to wake up, have breakfast and be out the door. It may be difficult to start but eventually it will become second nature, making the mornings extremely easy!
2. Get prepared the night before
Remove extra stress in the mornings by getting prepared the night before. Set out clothing, help to pack bags and make sure you’ve got your camera ready for a first day of school photograph! If everything’s ready to go the night before, you can focus on the morning routine without any bumps in the road. Remember Murphy’s Law - if something can go wrong, it will.
3. Begin with breakfast
Starting the day with a healthy breakfast sets your children up for the best day possible. A nutritious breakfast will activate their mind and get them ready to learn! Try to include a variety of foods in the morning including fruits, grains, protein, dairy products and vegetables.
4. Sleep tight
Making sure your children get the right amount of sleep is vital. It’s recommended that school aged children get a minimum of 9 hours sleep each night. Sticking to your set routine and creating a bed time is a great way to make sure your little ones are well rested.
5. Keep head lice in mind
Unfortunately, head lice outbreaks are a part of school life. Being prepared and knowing what to look out for can be the difference between a full blown infestation and a minor case of lice. To avoid nits, it always pays to have a bottle of Licener on hand so you can stop them in their tracks.
National Sleep Foundation. (2017). How much sleep do babies and kids need?
Head lice move from person to person by crawling - they can’t hop, fly or jump. They generally spread through contact with personal items or close head to head contact. On average they can’t survive for longer than 24 hours off the human scalp.
Head lice will spread quickly within groups, especially during the school term. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind the ways you can reduce the risk of your little ones getting lice. Here are some ideas on how you can prevent your kids from coming home with nits.
Although these tips don’t guarantee prevention, they can help reduce the risk of infestation. If you do spot lice on your little ones, it’s important to treat it as soon as possible. Keeping a bottle of Licener on hand is an easy way you can stay prepared. Just a quick 10 minute treatment is all it takes to keep nits at bay when they strike. Find your nearest stockist, or shop online and be prepared when head lice hit.
Roth, E. Nall, R. (2016, August 1). Head Lice: Life Cycle, Treatment and Prevention.
If your child has long hair, it’s a good idea to try and keep their hair tied up while they’re at school. If your child’s hair is down, lice can use their claws to cling to the hair and crawl to the scalp. Try these three hairstyles to help lower the risk of head lice.
1. Secure hair in a bun
A bun will get all the hair off your child’s face and shoulders. Keeping hair up and secure will stop head lice from crawling onto a strand of hair.
2. Secure hair into a plait or braid
Divide your child’s hair into three sections. While carefully holding the three sections, cross the right section over the top of the middle section. Then take the left section and cross it over the top of the middle section. Continue doing this and it will form a plait.
3.Secure hair into a ponytail and plait
Start by putting the hair into a ponytail and then plait the remainder of the hair following the instructions above so that no hair is loose in the ponytail.
Taking measures to prevent head lice is important, however nits often can’t be avoided completely. Any head-to-head contact can easily spread lice amongst a group of friends, even if their hair is tied up securely. It’s important to make sure you’re prepared if your children to come home with lice to help stop it spreading further. Keeping a bottle of Licener on hand is a great way to tackle nits in only 10 minutes. You can find your nearest Licener stockist here.
If you're looking for a delicious alternative to breakfast or a healthy lunch-time snack, try these moist and fluffy banana muffins by Cookie + Kate. They're super simple to make and only require a few basic ingredients and one mixing bowl! You can add mix-ins of your choice like chocolate chips, berries or toasted nuts. Keep in mind if your children will be taking them to school, it's best to avoid adding nuts and be sure to use a nut-free milk.
For suggestions on how to adapt these muffins and make them vegan, egg free, gluten free or for mix-in ideas, check out the recipe here.
Taylor, K. (2015, April 3). Maple-Sweetened Banana Muffins.