Busting the lice myths

Head lice are more prevalent during the school year, expert says


With summer winding down and the kids heading back to school, many parents can expect the dreaded note home about lice in the classroom.


Lice expert and owner of Lice Services Canada, Anne Doswell, says while the bugs are active year-round, they can be more prevalent during the school year.

“It’s big in the summer – everybody’s having fun and they don’t pay attention. There’s no notes coming home until the kids get to school and boom! Our biggest season is back-to-school – that’s when it becomes an issue because it’s an issue in the classroom,” Doswell explains.

Anne Doswell.


She says, when it comes to lice, no one is safe.


“It’s head-to-head contact and it goes right across the board from infants to grandparents and every(one) in between. You can do some preventative measures but it’s like having a cold – it’s a common thing.”


Because lice transmission is caused by head-to-head contact, Doswell says a simple hug or taking a selfie with a friend is all it takes to transfer lice.


“It can be that quick – just at the right moment, an adult bug can jump on the head of the other person and that’s it,” she explains.


If your child is sent home from school with lice, Doswell says not to panic – they can return to class the next day if you are successful in getting rid of the bugs.


“Once the adult bugs are gone, the child can go back because there is nothing to pass along. But you have to continue combing because the eggs will still be there and they will eventually hatch so you have to get all the eggs out. That’s a process over about a week, depending on what products you’re using,” she says.

“In that week, if you can get rid of all the eggs before they hatch, then your child is good. It’s the adult bugs that are the worry with the head-to-head contact.”


Of course, when it comes to removing those adult bugs, it’s no party. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Doswell recommends you get yourself a good, natural product and a professional-grade comb.


“You need good tools because, no matter how you slice and dice it, it is manual labour. There’s no magic answer,” she says. 


There may not be a magic answer but there is certainly help for families who are worried about lice. Lice Services Canada offers professional lice removal – either at one of their three clinics or in your own home. They will check (and treat) every member of the family for lice as well as ensuring lice hotspots (like hockey helmets and car seats) are taken care of.

For more information, visit liceservicescanada.com.


Fact Box

To learn more about lice treatment and prevention, check out Lice Services Canada’s Twitter feed (@LiceOttawa) for #MythBustingFridays. For example:



Washing your bedding will kill lice.

Washing has no effect on the bugs – it doesn’t matter how hot the water is or what laundry soap you use.