Can Black People Get Lice?

Do Black People Get Head Lice?Here’s the truth about head lice and African Americans.

If you don’t know what a head louse is, it’s a parasites about the size of a sesame seed and it feeds on human blood. If you need more factual information head over to our FAQ&A’s.

The head louse, Pediculus capitis humanus, is by no means a new nuisance. The parasite has been an unwelcome companion to humans as far back as the days of Cleopatra and beyond.  Read more about  Where Do Lice Come From?

Let’s first explain the differences between black and Caucasian hair. To understand the difference between African-American, Black and Caucasian hair it’s important to understand how hair grows.

Beneth the surface of our scalp lie thousands of hair follides. They are found in what is called the dermis. The texture and the thickness of each individuals hair is dependent upon the shape and size of the hair follicle. How thick a persons hair is depends on both the size of the hair follicles and how many there are on each individuals scalp.

Primary Differences

  • Hair molecular structure and shape results in tightly wound or similarly straight
  • Follicle density or the number of follicles per inch on/in the scalp
  • Thick wide follicle structure versus thinner
  • Overall growth rate
  • Ability to keep follicles moisturized
  • Propensity for damage, breaking and tearing

The wave pattern and bonding is what makes the big difference between African-American hair and Caucasian hair.  The principal bonds are hydrogen and polypeptide. Close to 88% of the hair is made of polypeptide bonds. They are difficult to break and are what gives the hair its strength. This bond is also what is responsible for the tight curls. In order to break the bond a permanent straightening treatment has to happen.

African-American hair tends to produce plenty of sebum or protective oils, generally more than other ethnicity’s hair.

Head lice find it difficult to navigate in black hair because of the construction of the hair. It is hard for the tiny insects to “get a foothold” on all of the twists and turns of black hair, so they tend to prefer European hair because it is easier to navigate.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln reports:

“In 1985, a study showed that only 0.3% of African-American children were infested with lice compared with 10.4% of non-African-American children. This study has been repeated, with similar results. However, in these surveys, there were still a few, rare cases of head lice among African American children.”

So, the answer to the question is YES, African Americans can get head lice head-hair and racesalthough rarely in the US.

In Africa countries though native children are infested with head lice but their head lice are adapted to hang onto the oval cross section of curly hairs.

If you’re interested in further studies you can refer to Terri Meinking a head lice researcher at the University of Miami School of Medicine, discussion in Current Problems in Dermatology.

In Summary:

Head lice have to be highly adapted to their environment if they are going to thrive.

  • This means they have to be able to scoot around easily in human hair.
  • The shape of hair strands differ between different racial groups and this affects head lice.
  • Africans living in Africa get head lice that are highly adapted to living in hair with strands that are oval in cross-section. The differences are small but they are significant.
  • Caucasians have round hair strands and have head lice that are adapted to this shape.
  • In North America most head lice seem to come from the Caucasian strain and thrive in children with round hair strands, that is mainly Caucasian and Hispanic children.
  • There are some cases of head lice in African-American children but the pool of these head lice seems to be very much smaller and so the incidence of head lice is much lower.

There are plenty of reports of bi-racial children getting head lice so we have to assume that their hair is suitable for at least one, maybe both strains of head lice to prosper.

Continued Education:

7 Things White People Don’t Understand About Black Hair

Want to fall out of your seat laughing? Read the Bitchin’ Sisters account and suggestions on head lice in the Huffington Post, it’s hysterical.  If profanity bothers you – pass on the read.

Sources: UNL, Mayo Clinic Head Lice FAQ, Global Health Associates of Miami

Image Credit:  Head Hair & Race to: http://watchingtheworldwakeup.blogspot.com/2009/11/awesome-wife-i-spent-weekend-nit.html

Publisher:  Let’s Be P.A.L.S

Contributor:  Julie B

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How to Clean Hairbrushes and Combs During a Head Lice Outbreak

howtocleanbrushesduringaliceoutbreak

Many are concerned about cleaning hair brushes during a lice outbreak. Hair brushes and combs easily collect debris and can transmit buildup onto your beautiful tresses so weather or not you have an active head lice case at home it’s always a good idea to keep your brushes and combs clean. Regular cleaning will help hair styling tools last a lot longer. It’s recommended that you remove all the hair from brushes at least once a week or more. During a lice outbreak be sure to dispose of the tresses in the outside garbage.

When there is a lice outbreak soak combs in hot water (not boiling – this will ruin them) (130°F) for 15 minutes. Many people like to use the dishwasher on a high heat dry for cleaning brushes! This might damage some of the handles, but we know in a case of a lice infestation combs are thrown out multiple times and most Moms prefer to throw them away and get new ones! In the event someone has a favorite brush or you’d like to try to keep them, read on. For items that cannot be soaked in hot water place them in a tightly sealed plastic bag and put them in a freezer for 10-12 hours to kill the lice and eggs and then presume with ordinary cleaning of your hair brushes.

How to Clean Hairbrushes during a Lice InfestationFor Ordinary Hairbrush Cleaning:

Gather you hair brushes and combs and wet the bristles (not the bodies) of the tolss under warm water then place a small dab of shampoo onto the bristles or comb and carefully rub the bristles together for two combs or gently for a comb brush combination. Run under water rubbing gently until all the suds are gone. Dry the brush or comb on a towel. If there is still leftover grime on hair styling tools, use a cotton swab to get any left over product from in between bristles and repeat the process above.

Using baking soda to get rid of product’s chemicals remaining in hair tools is yet another great use for Baking Soda. See our Head Lice Home Remedies board & 51 surprising uses for Baking Soda  Start with what was mentioned earlier and take all of the unwanted tresses out of hairbrush or comb and dispose of them into the garbage. Then, soak hairbrushes and combs in the bathroom sink with about one half cup of baking soda and warm water for about fifteen minutes. The final step is to let the hair-styling tools air dry on towel.

Remember not to immerse certain types of brushes or combs in the water. These types are the following:

Rubber- cushioned brush
Wooden bodied brushes or combs
Natural boar bristle brushes.

Permitting water to get through the vent hole on cushioned brushes will erode the cushioning of the brush. A wooden bodied brush or comb may cause wood to absorb water and damage the finish or make the body swell and break. Natural boar bristle brushes contain natural hair that would take in moisture as would other types of natural hair. The bristles on boar bristle brushes would twist or curl if dampened.

How To Deep Clean Combs and Hair Brushes Regularly or during a Head Lice Outbreak

You Will Need:

1/4 cup Borax

Squirt of Dawn Dish Soap (or other dish-washing liquid)

Sink of warm water

1. Begin by filling your sink about a quarter full with warm water.

2. Add the 1/4 cup of Borax and swish it around with your hands to help it dissolve.

3. Squirt some dish soap in the sink and then finish filling the sink with warm water until it’s about 3/4 full. You don’t want it so full that it will overflow
when you add your combs and brushes.

4. Particularly for the hair brushes, remove as much of the hair that may be stuck in them as possible before adding them to the water.

5. Place the combs and hair brushes in the soapy borax water and let them soak for a while. About 30 to 45 minutes should do it.

6. After that time has passed, you should find that your combs and brushes are clean again and that all the product build up is gone.

7. Rinse the combs and brushes with clean warm water and then dry them off.

Now you’re all set until the next lice outbreak – oh that’s right we are supposed to be cleaning our brushes and combs REGULARLY!

Contributor:   Julie BLet’s Be PALS

 

Head Lice & Back To School in Virginia

Head Lice and Back To School in Virginia7 Ways to Help Your Child & Yourself Get Ready for Back To School

The end of the Summer  brings the start of a whole new school year, with different subjects, teachers, schedules and people etc. Being well-organized and prepared makes going back to school enjoyable and successful.

Buying notebooks and scoping out sales is the easy part. There are less tangible things you can do as well.

Here are 7 ways you can help your child — and yourself — get ready to go back to school.

1. Re-Establish School Routines

It’s basic training drill time the last few weeks before school starts. Practice getting up and getting dressed as if school were in session and scheduling snacks and lunch time around the school schedule

2. Break Summer Habits

Get up & get out. Practice leaving the house in the morning. Yes, actually getting dressed out of PJ’s and going somewhere scheduled. It will help to break the summer habits like relaxing in your PJ’s until Noon!

3. Nurture Independence

Practice having your child manage basic needs without having to rely on you, such as, organizing school materials, viewing school website for valuable information, like gym clothes costs or any other item that might need to be done at school by your student. Even young children can build confidences and independence skills. Have them practice writing their name or tying their shoes

4. Set Up Homework Routines in Advance

It’s easier to follow a routine if you have it planned out. Plan what time and where your child will study. A routine helps every one stay in sync.

5. Make a Sick-Day Game Plan (or yes, a Head Lice Plan)

Before school begins line up a trusted babysitter or group of parents that can help out if the children get sick (or have head lice). Know the school policy for release forms etc.

6. Attend Orientations to Meet and Greet

Be sure to meet your children’s teachers and be an active participant in their school lives.

7. Make it a Family Affair

Get kids involved in ownership of their plans. Have them decide their routine and set expectations – they’ll be more likely to follow the plan!

Don’t forget to Download Your FREE Quick Family Lice Removal Guide

Author/Contributor:  Julie B

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Does Chlorine Kill Lice? Enjoying Virginia Beach

does chlorine kill lice? Virginia Beach Lice Treatment Experts

My Sister has Lice so she can’t go swimming right?

That was a response from a 7 year old wishful brother during a head lice treatment for his sister.

A Virginia beach Mom asked inquisitively and always in a concerned voice “can the kids still go swimming?” And the resounding answer to that is yes. She responded “oh, the chlorine kills them?” No, chlorine won’t kill head lice and it won’t drown them either – that was the other question from the 7 year old brother (but not about the lice). Oh brothers, you’ve got to love them. Thank goodness they usually grow up and actually like their sisters (as soon as their friends start liking their sister) Ok, back to lice and swimming pools.

We went searching online to find some studies to reference and we came across this Q.  “Can you catch lice in a swimming pool?” A. “Not if it’s oxidized” Oh boy!  Let’s get this out of the way first. I’m not sure what oxidizing a swimming pool means but it doesn’t have anything to do with head lice or their transmission in a swimming pool. So Mom’s please don’t go buy an oxidizer for your swimming pool if you found that answer online.

Data shows that head lice can survive under water for several hours (some studies say up to 16 hours) but are unlikely to be spread by the water in a swimming pool. Head lice have been seen to hold tightly to human hair and not let go when submerged under water. Chlorine levels found in pool water do not kill head lice.

Swimming with someone who has lice carries no greater risk of transmission than any other activity, nor will the water affect the infestation.  When lice are in water they go into a state of suspended animation but remain firmly locked onto the hair – literally hanging on for their lives.

We did find research study information that says ” In the field trial, four naturally infected individuals swam in a chlorinated pool for 30 min. No loss of lice or head to head transfer was observed. These results indicated that although head lice survive immersion, head lice transmission is unlikely to occur via the water of swimming pools” You can read the full article US National Library of Medicine.

So, with so many fun swimming options in Virginia Beach, you don’t need to worry about catching or sharing head lice in the water. If you suspect head lice be sure to call for a head lice check or learn how to do an at home lice head check.

Other Resources/References:

References: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/gen_info/faqs.html
Answers adapted from content on the websites of the National Pediculosis Association (NPA) & Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH)
http://khs.westport.k12.ct.us/eisenberg/lice_information.htm

Publisher:  Let’s Be P.A.L.S

Contributor:  Julie B

 

Nit Terminator Lice Comb and The Best Lice Combs

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bestlicecomb

Best Lice Combs – A $15 Comb Can Save you Some Big Lice Headaches.

Early detection of head lice is the best prevention.  Most experts agree that nit, or lice egg, removal is the single most important part of every head lice control treatment and using the proper lice comb is at the heart of the whole process. Removing nits from hairs by whatever means is called “nit-picking”.

Lice combs are made from either metal or plastic. Metal combs, with stiff tines, or teeth, and narrow slots between tines, will effectively remove or crush nits while plastic combs tend to “skip over” nits and are not as effective. Plastic combs can be used to untangle long hair before nit-combing with a metal comb. You’ll find the combs provided in the OTC boxes inefficient.

A lice comb is a great diagnostic device. Studies have found that a lice comb is the best tool for finding live lice.

wetheadchecksDo a wet head check with a professional lice comb like the Nit Terminator for early detection.

Simply get the entire head wet and comb through the hair with a professional nit comb swiping on a damp paper towel after each section of hair is combed. If your child has lice you will see nits or live lice come out onto the paper towel. Don’t know what your looking at? Send an email to look@virginiabeachlicetreatment.com and they’ll access the situation for free!

How to find a good lice-removal comb

A high-quality lice comb has long, fine, metal teeth that are very close together. Most experts will advise not to bother with plastic combs or the ones that come in the lice medicine packages (and we agree). Just because it’s a metal comb it doesn’t mean its the best and a professional lice removal comb.

This comb is purchased by many families because it’s metal, but its not the best as the teeth are not long enough.

ridvantage-comb

There are only two professional lice combs on the market The Nit Terminator and the Lice Miester

You may see or hear about electronic combs, but according to Richard Pollack, a lice expert at the Harvard School of Public Health, the electronic versions probably offer no advantage over a traditional, well-designed lice comb and we find that the electronic combs tend to identify anything in the hair, lint, dirt, or any type of particles not necessarily lice.

best lice treatment virginia beachA good professional nit comb is imperative to getting rid of lice. We feel like you really can’t do the job without the proper tools. If you have questions or need other tips and tricks if you’re going it alone, Let’s Be PALS lice treatment of Virginia Beach offers free advice or you can purchase our lice eliminating products online for half the price of other big name brand lice product companies.

757-769-8639

 

Contributor:  Let’s Be PALS

Author:  Julie B