We don’t feel lice when they are on our heads. Head lice are very tiny, about the size of a sesame seed, and crawl by grabbing on to hair strands with their incredibly efficient claws. They do not move around on scalps; but they do make contact on the scalp when they bite it to feed on our blood.
We do, however, tend to scratch our heads when the words head lice are mentioned. Some of us also may get this urge it when we see kids scratch their own heads while dealing with a head lice infestation. This itching seems contagious and we can’t seem to help it!
The itchy feeling we get when we read about head lice, see photos of them, or know someone who has lice, is actually a known condition – psychosomatic or psychogenic itch. Any parent or caretaker who has been notified of a lice outbreak may experience this. It is an absolutely normal reaction, but it does not indicate that you also have head lice. In fact, some people who actually have an infestation don’t have any reaction at all to the tiny bugs. The itching is actually caused by an individual’s allergic reaction to the insects’ saliva, when lice feed on our blood by biting on our scalps.
So why do we feel itchy at the thought of head lice? Recent research has confirmed skin to be both an immediate stress perceiver and a target of stress responses (source: National Center for Biotechnology Information). The connection between stress, involving the brain, and the skin, the body’s outer layer, has been researched and proven. As a result, if we feel stressed about a possible lice infestation, we react perfectly normally by feeling the need to scratch.Let’s then remember that stress when head lice may be present could generate scratching, and that it should not lead to immediately applying an anti-lice solution. What is recommended, however, is to perform a lice check on all family members, using a lice comb to look for signs of lice and their eggs (nits). If either is present, then an anti-lice product, such as LicemosisTM Anti-Lice Gel System should be used. For peace of mind while an infestation is affecting your area, use OsmoBlissTM shampoo in the weeks following the outbreak. It is formulated to be a maintenance system during periods when lice may be present. It helps to prevent lice recurrence and it eliminates nits and lice, including Super Lice. It is a gentle shampoo which can be used by everyone ages 3 and up in your family.