Have you ever had kuto (head lice)? It is not a comfortable experience. The mere thought of it actually makes my head itch right now. But what is it really?
According to Wikipedia, “Head louse are wingless insects spending their entire lives on the human scalp and feeding exclusively on human blood. Humans are the only known hosts of this specific parasite.” Dermatologist Dr. Ria Valdez also said in one of her talks at the Kilusan Kontra Kuto campaign, that female louse can lay 100 eggs which can hatch after 7 days. It only takes a week for a new female louse to lay eggs. Head lice can also survive off scalp for up to 3 days! This must be the reason why it is difficult to totally get rid of them by just using fine-toothed comb.
Here are some myths that are debunked by Dr. Valdez surrounding Kuto:
Myth: Head lice can fly or jump.
Fact: Neither. These insects are wingless and can be spread when there is direct contact with an infested individual. Common mode of transmission is head to head. It can also be transferred by using items of an infested person (e.g comb, towel, pillow)
Myth: People with long-hair are more prone to head lice.
Fact: Short-haired people can also be infested. Head lice survive from feeding on human blood. It does not depend on the hair-length of the host.
Myth: Staying under the sun can get you infested with head lice.
Fact: No. This myth could be associated to summer activities where kids are most likely playing with other kids who might have head lice.
Myth: Head lice is due to poor hygience.
Fact: Even a person with a good personal hygience can get head lice if he/she had a head to head contact with an infected person or to an item used by a host.
Myth: It is okay to have head lice.
Fact: It can cause infection. That is why it is adviseable to treat it immediately.
Myth: Anti-lice treatment are toxic to human.
Fact: Licealiz is a clinically tested anti-lice treatment. It contains pyrethrin, which is naturally found in chrysanthemum flowers. Licealiz is non-toxic and is also endorsed by the Philippine Dermatological Society of the Philippines and Department of Education (DepEd)
Prevention is really better than cure when it comes to head lice. One way of preventing its widespread is by using the right treatment. Anti-lice shampoos are available in leading drugstores and supermarkets nationwide.
Do you know any other myths about kuto? Share yours in the comment section below.