HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS WE ARE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED
WHAT ARE HEAD LICE?
Head lice are wingless insects spending their entire life on the human scalp and feeding exclusively on human blood. (Wikipedia) They have three stages: The nit which is the egg, the nymph, which is the younger louse, and the adult.
HOW ARE HEAD LICE SPREAD?
Head lice are spread through direct contact (head to head) with an individual who has head lice. Head lice can also be spread through sharing of personal items such as combs, hats, hair brushes, helmets, hair ties, pillows, bedding, etc. It is also possible to contract head lice from car seats, movie theater seats, airline seats, etc. But it is most likely your child caught head lice at school, childcare, a sleepover, or anywhere else where children congregate.
HOW LONG CAN NITS AND HEAD LICE LIVE ONCE OFF A HUMAN HEAD?
Nits(lice eggs) that have fallen off the human head will likely never hatch, as they need warmth to incubate. But if a nit does manage to hatch off of a head, without an accessible human to feed off of, his chances of survival are almost nil.
If an Adult head lice loses its human host through falling off or being brushed out, it will not survive for more than 48 hours. Lice require blood meals frequently and most will die within 24 hours of not feeding.
WHAT IS THE LIFE CYCLE OF HEAD LICE?
A female louse lays anywhere from 6-10 eggs per day. Once the eggs-nits- have been laid it takes a little more than a week for them to hatch. It then takes another week for them to mature; this is the nymph stage. When it has matured the female and male louse have the ability to mate and the female louse can then begin laying her own eggs. It is possible for a healthy female louse to lay 300 eggs in her lifespan.
The life span of a head louse on a human host is approximately 32 days.
CAN MY PET GET HEAD LICE?
No. Head lice are human parasites and require only human blood for survival. Their tiny claws evolved to climb up and down the human hair shaft.
HOW DO HEAD LICE FEED?
A louse bites through the skin and injects saliva which prevents blood from clotting; it then sucks blood into its digestive tract. Bloodsucking may continue for a long period of time if the louse is not disturbed. Head lice mouth parts are highly adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HEAD LICE?
- Itching-but not everyone itches
- Red bite marks on scalp
- Tickling feeling of something moving through hair
- Less common are sores caused by scratching which may become infected
WHO IS AT RISK OF GETTING HEAD LICE?
- Anyone who has had head to head contact with an infected person
- Sharing hats, combs, scarves, or any personal items of an infected person
- Preschool and school age children 3-11, and their siblings, parents and close friends.