Head lice do not survive long if they fall off a person and cannot feed.

MYTH: Head lice jump from one head to another.

FACT: They are wingless and cannot jump or fly. They can only be passed by direct head-to-head contact of at least 30 seconds.

MYTH: Head lice prefer long hair.

FACT: Head lice have no preference for long or short hair.

MYTH: Pets can carry head lice.

FACT: Head lice are human parasites, and so can only survive on human blood.

MYTH: Head lice carry diseases.

FACT: They may cause itchiness to the scalp after a prolonged infestation, which in turn may infect the skin, but they don’t carry any diseases.

MYTH: Keeping your head underwater will kill head lice.

FACT: Head lice cannot be washed away or drowned. They can actually survive under water for up to two hours.

MYTH: Itching is the first sign of head lice.

FACT: About one in three people will have an itchy scalp, so it is possible to have head lice without any symptoms. Itching can also take weeks to develop.

MYTH: Spring-cleaning the house will get rid of head lice.

FACT: Head lice do not survive long away from the scalp. It is not necessary to wash all household linen, only the affected person’s pillowcase.

MYTH: You should use treatment as a preventative measure.

FACT: Only use treatment when live lice are discovered. Products used to treat head lice do not prevent future infestation and discovery of eggs may be from a previous case.

MYTH: You need to see a doctor to successfully treat head lice.

FACT: Head lice can be successfully treated at home with careful combing and over-the-counter treatments.

MYTH: Shaving a child’s head is the best way to remove head lice.

FACT: Lice can live in hair as short as 3mm, so it won’t necessarily help when hair grows back.