Do Black People Get Lice?


Head lice is one of the most annoying problems which may cause serious embarrassment and itching for school-going children, and also in adults. The head lice are tiny insects which do not have wings and can be transmitted from one person to the other by contact. The insects eat human blood and need warm habitat for their survival.


An interesting question about this topic which often comes up in America and Europe, where majority of the population is Caucasian is “do black people get lice?’. This is because studies show that 10.4% of the Caucasian children get head lice, as compared to only 0.3% of African America children affected by the same problem.

Do black people get lice?

The short answer to this question is, yes. However, their risk of likelihood of developing them is lower as compare to that of Caucasians. Researchers have tried to found out the reason for this, but no one has found a concrete explanation as to why black people are unlikely to get head lice, and why people with lighter skin are at higher risk.


Why are white people more likely to get head lice?

Various studies have attempted to explain why black people are not likely to get lice as compared to the white people. Hair structure has been cited as one of the reason why this could be so. The studies have shown that the blacks in North America, UK and Canada have hair structure which is very similar to that of African Americans, and very different from hair of the white people. Lice tends to be attracted to hair of Caucasian people.

 Why is this so?

The hair of Caucasian people has rounded profile while that of African Americans has oval profile. This may not seem like a big deal to us, but for lice it is. The head lice claws are adapted to fit around rounded hair but not in oval shaped hair. The oval shape of African American interferes with their crawling. When the shape of hair makes the lice unable to move as needed, they will begin looking for host where they can move freely, or they will quickly die off.

Another reason why head lice may not be common in the black African American population is style of treatment. When young black boys get head lice, the shave their heads, and in doing so they effectively remedy the problem. Young black girls who develop head lice can have their hair straightened. Straightening of hair involves exposure of the hair to heat, and this has the effect of killing the lice, and getting rid of them.

How can black people prevent head lice?

The answer to the question “do black people get lice” does not remain the same when you consider other countries. This is so because Africans, Nigerians and Brazilians and people from some other few countries are grappling with head lice problem which adapts to some particular hair shape. These types of lice are difficult to comb out or wash, and can affect entire school system or family if people are in contact with each other.

The good news to all is there are simple products, which when properly used can help deal with problem of lice before they get a chance of becoming established. These products include oil-based products, particularly those which contain tea tree and coconut. These have proven to be quite effective in dealing with lice menace. Use of waxes or pomades in hair affected by lice tends to suffocate them quickly, and prevents development of new lice and their grip on hair. If you use these produces every day, you will greatly reduce the likelihood of getting head lice.

Last but not the least, always remember and keep in mind that the key to success in eradicating head lice is education. Regardless of skin color, all families should know basics about head lice and the ways in which the problem can be transmitted from one person to person. It’s important to remember that preventing measures can help prevent spread of the problem. The recommended measures of prevention include sharing of personal items or combs which transmit head lice and their eggs from hair of one person to the other.

Whenever there is outbreak of head lice in a community or school, it is very important to have the heads of the members of that family checked every day. Treatment should be sought immediately lice head is noticed.


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