My grateful thanks to Twitter contacts Lou ‘Weasy’ and David King for bringing this to my attention:
It’s your typical London Evening Standard head-louse-alert-warning-disaster-aaarrrghh article on head lice. I’ve tried to untangle some of the facts here.
Wet weather = more head lice? As Dr Burgess is quoted as saying, more to do with kids staying indoors, cuddling in front of the telly or the games console, and since this was probably researched last month, also more to do with ‘wet play’ in the class-room rather than running about in the playground, so yet more head-to-head huddle time.
Tea-tree and neem oil? The campaign at the school mentioned in the article is led by one vociferous parent’s anecdotal report that it’s the “only product she has found to work effectively”. The plural of anecdote, as any fule kno, is myth.
Passing them on to colleagues and commuters? Remember, it’s that all-important head-to-head touching contact that is important. Head lice do not abseil, or swing like acrobats; they are scurrying about on the scalp, not clinging to the ends of long fine wispy strands. You’re going to have to get rather over-friendly with your fellow tube travellers for head lice to scamper across.
One fact they fail to dredge up is the ‘safe’ breeding season over the summer holidays, when, without the usual nit letters coming home from the school, it is so easy to forget to keep vigilant and keep looking. So if you are concerned about an itchy summer, have another hard scrape at the kids’ scalps. There is no need to worry overly about your journey in to work. But if you are feeling anxious, I’m sure it won’t be long before you can buy hair nets at all Tube stations.