Nit picking – Dr. David Hepburn

Whilst strolling about on the Kenya coast just south of Mombasa, my wife and I found ourselves having to constantly negotiate by, if not negotiate with, a large troop of baboons squatting just outside our lodge. Knowing that these boons could get nasty at any moment should we ridicule them or discuss the colour of their keysters, we decided to get to know these boons and, in fact, sort of adopted them, given their uncanny resemblance to my non-adopted sons.

Like all good boon parents we gave them proper Christian names: Debbie Boon, Daniel Boon, Pat Boon and even Barbara “Babs” Boon or just Snooki. Prior to passing the troop I had to jettison any bananas I kept in my pocket (do not extrapolate this) to hand feed the eager Vervets or Sykes monkeys we happened upon. Hand feeding a baboon would likely have meant just that, the banana simply an appetizer. But between demonstrating their fangly fangs and strutting about with their boon butts high in the air, they sat and most patiently and lovingly picked lice and nits off of each other.

Baboons- Dr. Dave Hepburn
Baboons- Dr. Dave Hepburn

This social grooming seemed so genteel that soon my wife was combing through my chest hair looking for something to chew, where, other than remnants of Coco Puffs and an occasional bratwurst, she found very few lice…. and so ordered out. But to many, having lice are a way of life, particularly if you are a louse.

And so, fellow primates, here are the facts of lice.

  • Manual nit picking is a necessary part of any lice treatment program. Pediculocides are not 100% effective so you MUST nit pick with a fine tooth comb or perhaps simply get married where you will be readily nit picked bald as a mole rat embryo.
  • A hatched nit needs a human blood meal within 45 minutes to survive. So should you hear a celebration in the nape of your neck, meaning all the lady lice are enjoying a baby shower, I suggest that you cut off the blood supply to your head, much like the cast of Jersey Shore does.
  • Many schools have a no nit policy meaning that if you have nits you don’t come to school. One of my sons would get little grains of rice and glue them to his hair and so missed Grade 6 entirely and, like the cast of Jersey Shore, most of Grades 7 thru 12 which is why he’s now running in the upcoming election.
  • The pubic or crab louse is a parasitic insect which spends its entire life on human genitals, sort of like the cast of Jersey Shore. They can also be found in hair, on the abdomen and under the armpits as well as on the beard and mustache. Men too can get lice. In children they are usually found in eye-lashes or eyebrows.
  • A pubic louse resembles a miniature crab when viewed through a strong magnifying glass. They look quite a bit different than head lice which look more like Wayne Newton.
Head Infested With Louse- Dr. Dave Hepburn
Head Infested With Louse- Dr. Dave Hepburn
  • A common misbelief is that infestation can be spread by sitting on a toilet seat. This isn’t likely, since lice cannot live long away from a warm human body. Also, lice do not have feet designed to walk or hold onto smooth surfaces such as toilet seats so if they get left on a toilet seat they often fall into the toilet, sort of like Aunt Florence in the middle of the night.
  • You don’t need a doctor to detect crabs. Genital crabs cause intense itching and are very visible to the naked eye so if you notice the nether regions appear to be humming with activity and you just spent a weekend within the vicinity of Charlie Sheen ….
  • Crabs and head lice are not transmissible to or from pets. Fleas and scabies are. So should your dog come to you and say “Hey pal, I got crabs from you” just ignore him unless of course you realize you have a talking dog. No doubt owning $uch a pet would certainly be a boon to your troop.

Acuna matata

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