As a parent of a child or a person with Afro Caribbean hair type, it is only normal for you ask the question, “ Can black people get lice ?”.
The answer is simple. Yes they can, but there are many factors that you should understand before you go worrying yourself
The first thing you should do if you suspect that you, someone you know or your child has headlice, would be to sit them down and inspect their head thoroughly, especially if they constantly have an itchy scalp.
Itchy scalp is a sure sign of infestation.
By reading this and following some of the remedies we point out on other pages, will give you all the info you require to deal with any outbreak.
What are Head Lice
Head lice are parasites commonly known as Nits, But really Nits are the eggs of the head lice.
We use the common word Nits because you cant have one with out the other.
Large headlice are around 2-3 mm in length.
The lice festate around the head and neck, they attach their eggs to the bottom of the hair strands.
The Latin name for these head lice is “Pediculus humanus capitis” and their main diet consist of your human blood.
Head lice are not known to carry any disease, or have any affect on humans other than creating irritation, which in turn can lead to sores and scabs.
As a rule they prefer straight or loose curly hair, which is more susceptible to the tiny little mites, we know as Lice or NITS.
It is thought that one of the reasons black people are less prone to head lice, is the structure of Afro Caribbean hair over naturally straight hair.
Afro textured hair has a flatter cross section making it more spring like and prone to more breakage.
But in general hair is just hair and hair is created from a protein known as Keratin.
In years past, apparently it was not so common for black people get nits as it was for a person with non afro caribbean hair.
This mostly stemmed from the types of products black people were using on their hair and the types of hair styles.
Back in the day a lot black people were using oils and grease to care for their precious bonnet and In one respect this was a great factor in keeping head lice out.
This was part of the reason people asked “ can black people get lice ” and “ do black people get lice ”.
Lice love to crawl through hair and cling to it, but due to the amount of oils people were applying to their curly locks, turned out to be a great deterrent as it was thought the the oils were suffocating the lice or making the terrain less easy to navigate.
Combined with the tight curls of a black persons hair, it seemed that the head lice had little interest in afro type hair due to the amount of effort required to move amongst the tight curls.
Move forward a few years and we find that hair styles have changed, products have changed and the way we care for our hair has changed dramatically.
More and more people are straightening their hair, along with using modern chemicals to care for it.
There are still arguments that straightening and the use of chemicals have been the downfall that has led to lice free afro days.
But some also believe that using hot irons kills off the lice.
Unfortunately, lice like to travel from host to host via pillows, bed sheets and all sorts of other methods.
Though a lot of people think that Head louse can jump from host to host.
This is not true. Head louse are fast little little critters that want to do nothing more than feed sleep and breed.
Can Black People Get Lice
So even if you don’t straighten or use modern chemicals, the chances are that someone in your social group or your child’s school does.
As I stated above, Lice have always been there but have not been that prevalent.
If you are a family with different types of hairstyles or live in a neighborhood that is predominantly black then it becomes the case that the lice are starved of choice and therefore will probably adapt.
It may even be the case that you or a child will get lice for a shorter period of time compared to someone with western straight hair.
There is no definitive studies that I have come across yet in my studies as to what type of hair lice prefer, but it is commonly thought that the natural coarse hair of black people is difficult terrain for head lice.
A little story
I had a friend with two small children that went to day school whilst she worked.
One day the school sent out a letter to all parents, stating the there was a case of head lice at the school and that parents should inspect their children.
My friend phoned a local doctor and asked can black people get lice ?
The Dr’s answer was no, and that he had not seen a case of head lice on a black person in all his years.
My friend sent her children back to school untreated and non the wiser.
This was back in the 1980’s when kids had big afros or heavily oiled hair and if you have had a big afro or tried to inspect the afro hair of a small child, you will understand how difficult this can be.
3 weeks passed when she noticed her children scratching like crazy and complaining about the itching.
Unlike today where we are inundated with products to cure lice, cures and remedies were not so widely distributed.
She decided she would cut the hair of her children and upon doing this, she found their poor little heads were infested.
She went to the school the next day to meet some of the parents and inform them of the head lice situation.
Within one week every black child in that school had short or plaited hair.
Should I keep My Child At Home – Head Lice Advice
At the time of writing this, it’s the day before my son goes back to school.It’s also prime time for kids to get head lice.
One question I hear over and over again is: “should I keep my child home if they get head lice”.
The problem for a lot of parents, is that they have already been off work for an extended period during the holidays;
Or they have been paying for carers to look after the little ones and the last thing a parent wants right now, is to be asking their boss for extra time off.
The chances are, that if your child has lice, so do lots of other kids at that school.
Should I keep my child home If they have head lice?
The answer 99% of the time, is no
No one benefits from it, least of all the parent.
You can only treat the infested head so many times in a week and like I said previously:
If your kid has lice then so do lots of other kids.
Be Pro Active
The first thing you could do when discovering the headlice, is contact the school and any parents that you know as soon as possible.
Warn them that your child has come home with lice and that you intend to treat the infested head straight away.
Tell them that you will be sending your child back to school the next day and that you would like them to inform the teachers and parents of the situation.
You may have to keep you child home from school if the school has a head lice policy in place, but most don’t.
Head Lice Treatment
Next you should treat the child, yourself and your family with a suitable head lice shampoo, also use a specialized comb.
If the hair that you are treating is long, then tie it back nice and tight.
If it’s a boys hair or afro hair that is infested and you don’t mind cutting it short, the act to do that as soon as possible.
By cutting hair short, it can be one of the quickest ways to rid the head of infestation and nits.
The sure way to keep your child from getting lice or spreading lice is to educate them.
They are never to young to understand these things.
- Do not swap any clothing with friends.
- Try not to play fight or wrestle with friends, at least for a week.
- Girls. Do not touch other girls hair, or share brushes and combs.
- Do not try to look at each others lice and compare.
- Do not plan sleep overs until clear.
These are just some basic things to tell your child to better help them and their friends.
By being proactive will have great results for everyone and will eliminate any further spread for a while.
Have a child in school!
Be prepared and stock up now. have some Lice shampoo and a nit comb in the cupboard ready.
Tea Tree Oil Lice Treatment
Tea Tree Oil Lice Treatment has been around for years or even centuries.
You may of heard that Tea Tree Oil lice is a great way of getting rid of the little mites.
The problem is, people don’t tell you the whole story.
Tea tree oil does kill lice but it does not kill eggs/nits.
The tea tree oil lice treatment method
The tea tree oil lice treatment is a good place to start, especially if you are wanting to try herbal or alternative remedies first.
Most people try this because they are worried about the chemicals and dont wish to put such chemicals on their children’s heads.
Another reason to try this is because none of the other remedies are proven to work 100%
It seems that what works for one head may not work for another.
How Come Tea Tree Oil Kills Lice
Firstly I don’t think there is any proof that tea tree oil kills lice.
But a lot of people will swear by it, manly because it worked for them.
A lot of people with Afro American hair try this method to avoid the harsh chemicals from other remedies.
Others will swear that it’s an old wives tale, because it did not work for them.
Tea Tree Oil has bacteria killing ingredient, terpinen-4-ol.
Tea tree has been a natural remedy for years and has been known to combat sores and other skin irritations.
Lice like clean hair rather than dirty hair and tee tree oil contains anti bacterial agents with in it that lice do not like.
Also by applying the oil, it will coat the hair and the scalp making the head an inhospitable place for the lice.
The lice will stop feeding on the scalp and die off.
During this time you must use a lice come to try and clear as many lice as possible.
Whilst doing this you should also be looking for nits.
Tee tree oil will not kill the eggs and the eggs usually take about a week to hatch.
Comb the hair daily using a little Tee Tree oil, making sure that there is as few lice on the head as possible by the time the nits hatch.
Keep doing this for around 2 – 3 weeks depending on results.
The theory is that you will rid the head of lice before the next batch lay their eggs.
Does Hair Dye Kill Lice
There are many ways to kill lice, but one question that pops up quite often is “does hair dye kill lice”.
Yes! hair dye kills lice. But, that does not mean that you wont wake up the next day without lice in your hair.
If you browse the web, you will find the same answers everywhere for things that kill lice.
Some of the things people use to rid their children’s hair of lice. Or shall we say attempt.
This is the same for every type of hair.
- Olive oil.
- Tea tree oil.
- Hair dye.
A you can see there are many ways to get rid of lice.
Fact: Lice Can lay up to 10 eggs per day
Over the years, people have gone to extremes in trying to get rid their hair of lice, but if you don’t know the basic facts, you will not only fail in your mission, you will also stand a very high chance of damaging your hair follicles or your childs.
Does hair dye kill lice?
Yes it does kill lice, BUT it does NOT kill the eggs.
Although very tiny and easy to crush in your finger tips, the shell of a nit has a great resistance towards chemicals.
You may dye your hair and wake up in the morning to find a lot of dead lice on your pillow:
But by the evening you will have lice again.
Do you really want to dye your child’s hair?
It is understandable that people will get desperate and try anything to get rid of lice.
As parents we also have to think about the affects certain chemicals will have on our children.
We cant just go applying hair dye or other chemicals to their hair, especially young children.
The best advice you will find on this website and any other website that has your best interest at heart, is to start with wet combing and nit picking.
Buy a treatment( do not skimp) buy 3 weeks worth. you don’t want to fail in your attempt to be rid of the lice just because you ran out of lotion.
Buy the correct comb and use it daily as well as manual nit picking.