So I found out some interesting facts about head lice from The Monthly’s February 2011 edition.
For example, lice have been around since the dawn of time. In fact,
“lice combs feature in Renaissance paintings of the baby Jesus. They were buried in the tombs of 3000-year-old Egyptian mummies (for the lice in the afterlife). Scientists even found a 10,000-year-old nit clinging tenaciously to a human hair in north-east Brazil.”
Head lice, the other white meat cockroach.
And, considering “they now infest up to 35% of 4–11 year old Australian school children once per year,” nits shouldn’t have such a stigma attached to them.
But they do. I remember when my little sister was invited for a “play date” at—you could say—the school lice-spreader’s house. I warned her not to go and my mother not to let her, but to no avail. And lo and behold, within a week, the whole family was dousing ourselves in Nads.
The author of The Monthly piece, Christine Kenneally, laments her son’s recurring bouts with lice, and let me tell you: I don’t think our household was nit-free for close to a year! I managed to steer clear of them (thank God; I was in year 10 at the time, and I can only imagine the ostracism that I would have faced at my high school.), but with hair down to your bottom and a hippie mother who only believes in natural treatments, my sister had a very hard time of it.
However, there is good news:
“Most treatments are neurotoxins. They damage the nervous system of the louse but they generally don’t hurt the egg… Even if a neurotoxin can get inside the egg, it won’t do much until the third or fourth day when the nervous system has developed. Hatchtech… has created a louciside and ovicide. When it’s time for treated eggs to hatch, enzymes involved in hatching are blocked, and the louse dies inside the egg.”
High fives all round!