There are some common questions about head lice that I hear over and over again. I thought it would be a good idea to address some of them in a blog entry so that perhaps people trolling the Internet for head lice information might find some solid answers. Here they are:
Q: “Why are head lice so prevalent these days? When I was a kid, we never heard about this problem!”
A: My hypothesis is that treatment failure is far more common these days than it was decades ago when the parents of today were children. Over-the-counter pesticides have become increasingly less effective and therefore the incidence of recurrent or recalcitrant lice have increased dramatically. Another factor in the lingering of outbreaks is the fact that some parents still find themselves reluctant to inform the social circles of which their child is a part, and last but not least, the AAP no longer endorses “nit-free” policies. This has resulted in some districts allowing children into school with active cases of head lice. When this is the case, the problem continues to spread.
Q: “Is this the season for lice?”
A: The answer, regardless of when the question is asked, is “yes.” Head lice don’t have a definitive season, since their environment is never subject to frost. It is a balmy 98.6 degrees on our heads 12 months a year. We do see periods when there are more diagnoses (back to school being one), but statistically, anywhere from 1-3% of school-aged children have lice at any given time during the year.
Q: “Can I get lice from standing next to someone with head lice or riding in the car with them?”
A: No. Human head lice do not jump or fly. 90% of cases are transmitted directly from head to head by direct contact with an infested individual. The second greatest mode of transmission is sharing of personal items that have contact with the head of an infested individual. Less than 2% of cases are transmitted through the environment.
For more information on facts and myths of head lice, please send me an email at email@example.com.
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