(NEW YORK) -- The image of head lice is pretty unsettling but a pediatric infectious disease expert says what's almost as bad are the misconceptions people have of these nits. Dr. Andrew Bonwit of Loyola University Health System in Illinois believes that the emotional distress far outweighs the physical harm because most Americans associate head lice with poor hygiene and low income status.
Bonwit claims it couldn't be further from the truth, adding, "The head louse is an equal-opportunity pest."
As a public service to allay parents' concerns, the doctor wants to dispel certain myths about head lice. For instance, they can't be spread by pets nor by sharing personal items. Almost always, transmission involves head-to-head contact with another person.
Bonwit also suggests that kids discovered with head lice shouldn't have to be discharged from school immediately, which creates an unnecessary stigma. It's more important to seek a physician for treatment.
Finally, Bonwit stresses that "Head lice do not transmit serious infectious disease."
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