Friday 19th November 1993 Morning coffee break 12:00

“Do head lice really prefer clean hair?”
“Of course not, Dilys. We only say that so we don’t upset the dirty children and their parents.”
“Oh!” Dilys looked disappointed.
“Don’t listen to him, Dilys.” Dr Lewis said. “Desmond is trying to be controversial. I don’t think head lice mind if hair is clean or dirty.”
My Dad was not deterred. “If you think about it, every time you wash your hair you get rid of a few head lice. If you only wash it every three weeks, they will obviously build up. They do lay eggs every day.”
“Normal washing is not really going to be enough.” Dr Lewis said.
“I disagree, Lois,” my Dad continued, “in my opinion, it is almost impossible for head lice to cling on to sleek, glossy hair that has been thoroughly washed at least three times a week and lovingly brushed several times a day.” Dad patted his own hair as he said this. “They will just slide off. Head lice like sticky tangled hair with lots of knots.”
Dr Lewis frowned. “They won’t slide anywhere. They have all got six tiny claws so they can grip tightly onto the hair shafts and the eggs are glued on.”
Dilys wrinkled her nose up when she heard this. “How do you get rid of them, then?”
“You can use insecticide lotions,” Dr Lewis said, “but I think that the best way is to wash your hair, add plenty of conditioner and then use a fine-tooth comb to dislodge them. You need to comb the hair for a good ten minutes to do this. You should repeat the process every few days.”
My Dad chuckled and shook his head. He went back to signing the repeat prescriptions.

Do head lice really prefer clean hair?