With so many scary stories and misconceptions out there about lice, it’s easy to get the wrong information and completely panic when you think (or know) your child has head lice. But, much of the talk that’s swirling out there are just myths and have no scientific backing. So, how much truth do you really know about head lice? We’ve put together a quick True or False quiz to test your knowledge and help ease your fears.
If you have any questions after taking the test, feel free to reach out to us for more information. Our head lice experts are always ready to educate and debunk urban legends!
#1-TRUE OR FALSE: Having lice means you have poor personal hygiene.
Lice are non-discriminatory when it comes to hair cleanliness. They simply require any human hair, whether squeaky clean or completely greasy. Lice feed on tiny bits of human blood, and the hair is just a place where they hang on. Also, washing your hair repeatedly as a way to get rid of the lice will not work. They can withstand being submerged in water for hours and have a pretty firm hold on the hair shaft.
#2-TRUE OR FALSE: You need to throw everything away and start over if you get lice.
This is a common myth that has everyone frantically running around, cleaning their home from top to bottom, washing and rewashing their linens. Lice do not live in the house, only on the human head. Lice can only live removed from the human head for 48 hours or less, so only the items that have come into contact with persons’ heads will need to be cleaned. Items to clean include the infected person’s bedding, hairbrushes/combs, and any hats, scarves or helmets worn recently.
#3-TRUE OR FALSE: Pets can’t carry lice.
Have no fear. Your pets do NOT carry human head lice. Lice are a human parasite and only survive on human blood. Dogs and cats can only get fleas.
#4-TRUE OR FALSE: You can get lice by being in the same room as a person who has lice.
Lice cannot jump, nor do they have wings! They can only crawl, which is why they are passed through direct contact. This is one of the reasons why avoiding direct contact with another’s hair or head is the best way to protect yourself from getting head lice.
#5-TRUE OR FALSE: Lice are resistant to over the counter shampoos.
Lice have developed resistance to the chemicals in the most common over the counter treatments. A study published in 2016 shows 98% of lice now have mutated genes and developed resistant to over the counter shampoos and many prescription treatments as well.
#6- TRUE OR FALSE: Lice prefer blondes.
Since lice hang out as close to the scalp as possible, hair color (natural or chemically dyed) is never a factor.
#7-TRUE OR FALSE: You can “outgrow” lice.
While it’s uncommon for babies to get lice, toddlers, school-age children, teenagers, college kids, and adults are all susceptible. Close living quarters where items are shared (like college dorm rooms) and taking selfies are some of the most common ways for lice to spread in older kids and adults.
#8-TRUE OR FALSE: If one of my kids gets lice, everyone in the family should be checked – even if they don’t share hairbrushes or beds.
It’s recommended that all family members be checked by a professional if you suspect someone in your home has lice. About 80% of mothers whose children have lice are also positive.
#9-TRUE OR FALSE: Short hair is the answer to never getting lice.
This is a very common myth associated with head lice, and it’s simply not true. So many people have chopped or shaved hair off of their children’s head when confronted with head lice, but the sneaky parasite can live on hair as short as 0.1 inch! They like to hang out as close to the scalp as possible, so go ahead and keep your locks as long or as short as you like.
#10- TRUE OR FALSE: You should keep the fact that you have lice a secret.
Since lice can be contagious, it’s recommended that you make friends or family with whom you have come in close contact aware – this will only help in getting rid of the pest as fast as possible! Plus, you don’t want to get lice again, right?!
If you scored 7 out of 10 or better, congratulations! You know your stuff! If you didn’t, take a look at our Parent Resource section on our site where you can learn some interesting facts about lice and what to do about it if it happens to you or your child.