Most men and women trim, clip, and cut their hair for aesthetic reasons. After all, a survey of 303 female students from Wayne State University found that the overwhelming majority (96%) remove their body hair. What’s more, a survey from Remington Products found that 71% of women prefer men to shave their back hair, 44% of women find it troublesome when this hair is left untouched, and that 40% women think men should shave their chests.
However, if you’re not careful, you may have to wind up getting rid of the hair on your head for a far, far grosser reason: so-called super-lice.
According to a new report, which was presented at the 250th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the lice populations of at least 25 states have developed resistances to the over-the-counter treatments doctors and schools widely recommend.
“We are the first group to collect lice samples from a large number of populations across the U.S.,” said Kyong Yoon, Ph.D., who was one of the first to report the phenomenon in the U.S., in 2000. “What we found was that 104 out of the 109 lice populations we tested had high levels of gene mutations, which have been linked to resistance to pyrethroids.”
Fortunately, lice do not carry disease, according to health experts, which is just one of a myriad of different myths still perpetuated. Lice also do not live in the environment, either — just on heads. This means that there’s no need to wash a child’s clothes, sheets, and stuffed toys, as most think.
The most important myth to debunk is that lice are a sign of poor hygiene. Having lice does not mean a person is dirty. The irony of the situation is that it’s actually quite the opposite — the critters actually prefer clean hair. What’s more, since lice can only be spread from head-to-head contact, such as when two people lean together for a selfie, those with lice are often the ones who are popular and well-liked.
According to Yoon, lice can still be treated with a special fine-toothed comb. Unfortunately, though, combing out lice isn’t easy.