Head lice: an ancient tradition

Filed under: Preschoolers, Health & Safety: Babies, In The News, Day Care & Education

About a year ago, my sister's four-year-old came home from school with head lice. Unfortunately, before my sister discovered it, it had spread to the next door neighbor's kid. Even though head lice is a fairly common childhood problem that is treatable and not dangerous, you would have thought she was spreading the plague. The mother of the child next door was furious with my sister and to this day, will not allow her daughter to play with my niece.

Head lice can be traumatic, but for those who suffer, maybe it is somewhat comforting to know that it has been bugging people for over 100,000 years. Genetic tests of head lice taken from 1,000-year-old mummies in Peru support the theory that the bugs we see today are nearly identical to those that humans carried out of Africa all those years ago.

"It tells us that this genetic type got around the globe right as humans spread and migrated around the globe," said David Reed of the University of Florida, who worked on the study. He says that using gene sequencing of lice, human migrations all over the world can be tracked and dated.

So, if your kid should come home with some unwelcome guests in his or her hair, just remember: it's not shameful, it's an ancient tradition! And here's how to get rid of it.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.