GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. -- It's the note from school that parents dread: a child in your kid's class has lice. If there is a season for lice, winter is it.
Gonne Asser, also known as the Minnesota Lice Lady, clears up the myths and facts of lice.
Fact: Human lice are only transmitted between people and never come from animals.
Fact: Head lice can only crawl (not fly) from human head to head.
Fact: Adult lice can only live a maximum of 48 hours off of a human head; baby lice (nymphs) can survive only a couple hours.
Fact: Transmission of head lice from inanimate objects (the environment) is very uncommon.
Fact: Minnesota school nurses tell us that lice outbreaks seem to occur each year and they are not seeing a dramatic increase over previous years.
Fact: Minnesota Lice Lady performed more than 1000 head checks at 2011 summer camps. Per camp session, only three to five cases out of 160 campers were positively identified with lice (and subsequently treated) by MN Lice Lady.
This is 2 to 4 percent higher than the 1 to 1.6 percent generally quoted by CDC and studies but still considerably low.
Clean vs. Dirty Hair:
Fact: Lice are opportunistic bugs, surviving only on human blood; they are not affected by cleanliness or dirtiness in their need to survive.
Fact: Lice like clean and healthy scalps; experts believe dirty hair is slippery therefore harder to glue nits (eggs) to.
Itchy Scalp vs. No Itch:
Fact: You can have lice up to four to six weeks before you begin itching your scalp and 50 percent of infested people have no symptoms at all.
Fact: In ongoing infestations, habitation can occur and itching decreases.
Fact: Lice bites and nits are commonly found behind the ears, crown of head and nape of neck.
For lice treatment options, head to Minnesota Lice Lady.