Let’s face it: Pets can be dirty. Especially if you have a dog, you know they can get into some trouble when running around in your backyard or at the park. With all that running around, you might be worried about the impacts your dog, or any animal, might have on your children.
There are a lot of things we could discuss, but today our focus is on head lice. If you’ve got young children in school, you know there is a good chance they will get head lice at some point. But is the only way they can get this infestation from students? Can your pet infect your child as well? Let’s discuss this issue so you are completely informed on what risk factors you face regarding head lice, your children, and your pets.
What is Head Lice?
Head lice, or Pediculus humanus capitis, are tiny parasitic insects that infest human heads of hair. They attach themselves to hair near the scalp, as that is their food source. While living in a head of hair they draw blood from the scalp as their food source and also lay their eggs, which are called nits.
These insects sound scary, and while they certainly are a nuisance, they do not pose any medical risk. Head lice do not carry disease, and so there is no need to majorly panic should your child get head lice. Yes, you need to take care of this issue right away. However, do not worry about them spreading disease like other blood sucking insects do, such as mosquitos.
Who Can Get It?
Anyone technically can get head lice, but it is more prominent in young children. In fact, it is estimated that between 6 and 12 million infestations occur each year in children aged 3 to 11 years old. This is why if you have a young child in school, it is almost inevitable that at some point they will get head lice.
It is also important to note that getting head lice is not a sign of poor hygiene. As a mom, you might feel incredibly guilty if your child gets head lice, thinking it is because your child or your home is not clean. That is absolutely not true. Head lice has nothing to do with hygiene, the lice simply want to attach themselves to hair. This can happen to anyone and is nothing to be ashamed of.
Is it Contagious?
Absolutely. Head lice are very contagious and are the reason why so many infestations tend to occur each year. If one child gets head lice, there is a good chance either some of their schoolmates, or their family, will get it as well. Head lice primarily spread by direct head to head contact, which helps explain why so many school aged children get it. Between recess and nap time, or sleeping over at a friends house, there are numerous opportunities throughout the day where children end up touching heads with someone else.
Because it is so contagious, it is important to take action as soon as you know a child is infested. The sooner you start treatment, the lesser your chances are that other people will become infested as well. If it is your child, be sure to start treatment right away. We recommend using an all natural treatment that is safe and effective. In addition to treating their head, make sure to clean their clothing, bedding, towels, and hair accessories as well. You will also want to vacuum and clean around the house to make sure you are removing all the head lice.
Can a Pet Get Head Lice?
So now that you know all about head lice and how it spreads, you are probably wondering if your pets factor into this at all. Can pets get head lice too, or is this something that only impacts humans? In short, yes, pets can contract lice. However, it is far less likely for a cat or a dog to get lice if they live in clean conditions. While it is true for humans that hygiene is not a factor, it is when it comes to animals. If you keep your pets clean and they live in a clean environment, you should be fine.
Can Pets Spread Head Lice to Humans?
So, even though it is less likely, say your pet does get lice. Can they now potentially infect your child? The short answer is: no! While it is true that pets can contract lice, they contract a different species of lice that is specific to them. In other words, pets cannot contract Pediculus humanus capitis, and that is the only species of head lice that can infest humans. Dogs contract either Trichodectes canis or Linognathus setosus, and cats contract Felicola subrostratus.
If your pet does contract lice, just like with humans, it is something that needs to be treated right away. However, do not worry about the lice spreading to you or your children. There is absolutely no risk of this happening. Instead, take your pet to the vet in order to confirm the diagnosis and to receive treatment for the infestation.
So there you have it! While head lice is no doubt a pain, it is not anything you need to worry about in terms of a serious medical issue- both for your children and your pets. And, you don’t have to worry about your child infecting your pet, or your pet infecting your child. Head lice species stick to one type of hair and will not deviate. If someone in your family does get head lice, seek treatment for them and be sure to do a thorough cleaning of your house and their personal items.
If it is your pet that gets lice, a quick trip to the vet will get you on the road to recovery in no time. Head lice is never fun, but it is something you can certainly overcome. The best thing to do is not panic and stay calm.
This article has been provided by the ClearLice team, a brand specialised in treating head lice with natural products.