What is head lice?
Lice are tiny, 6-legged wingless parasitic insects that live among human hair, and feed on tiny amounts of blood from the scalp.
What do head lice look like?
The egg is referred to as a nit, a baby louse is called a nymph, and lice individually are referred to as a louse (lice = plural). The average size of an adult louse is 2-3mm, the size of a sesame seed.
The average nit is similar in size to a knot in thread. They are very small and difficult to see.
Who is at risk for getting head lice?
Everyone is at risk for getting head lice, as they are spread by direct to direct head contact. However, head lice is most common amongst school children and the household members of infested children. Research also shows an increasing number of cases in teenagers, which could be attributed to “selfies” taken in this modern time. In addition, other family members living with an infected child, and those working in child care, are at an increased risk due to the high level of exposure.
Does poor hygiene cause head lice?
No, lice do not discriminate by gender, ethnic groups, religion or cleanliness.
How did I get head lice?
Head-to-head contact with an infested individual is by far the most common way to get lice. Although it’s possible, but uncommon, lice can be spread by sharing clothing, hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms or articles such as hair ribbons, barrettes, combs, brushes, towels, and stuffed animals if recently worn or used by an infested person. Lying on a bed, couch, pillow, or carpet that has recently been in contact with an infested person could also be a rare possibility.
Why do I keep getting head lice?
There are several possibilities why you keep getting lice:
• Re-infested from an infected individual with whom you have close contact;
• The first cycle wasn’t broken (all the live activity and/or nits were not removed, did not attend a re-check appointment following a treatment)
•Repeated usage of over-the-counter products, as lice have developed a resistance with the T1 gene to the chemicals and pesticides being used.
What are the common signs of head lice?
Typically, it takes two weeks for someone to notice that they have lice, and only 50% show symptoms such as:
• Persistent itchiness and scratching of the scalp; the itchiness if a reaction to the allergen in the saliva of the louse, and is caused by the feeding off the scalp.
• Pink rash behind the ears and at the nape of the neck, resembling an allergic reaction;
• Tickling feeling in the hair;
• Sores from scratching;
• Tiny lice eggs (called “nits”) approximately 1-2 inches from the scalp that cannot be brushed off (because of the glue)
• Sight of live bugs;
• Difficulties sleeping as lice are most active at night.
How long can lice survive off the head?
Nymphs feed every 2-3 hours, and adult lice feed every 4-6 hours, so they need to stay on the host head for survival. If a louse should fall off the head and onto a surface or item, it generally does not survive for more than 24 hours. Within the first few hours, it would be very lethargic.
Do head lice spread disease?
No. Lice are not considered a medical or public health hazard, as they are not known to spread disease. Sometimes the itching and scratching effects can increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.
Do head lice jump?
No. Lice do not hop, skip or jump; they do not have back legs to jump nor do they have wings to fly. They just crawl.
Do over-the-counter products work?
There are no over-the-counter or prescription treatments that are proven to be 100% effective. Most often, these treatments contain harmful chemicals and pesticides, and lice have recently developed an immunity which makes them resistant to such treatments, meaning you will not break the cycle. In addition to the product used, there is also a specialized technique to the combing process that is critical to the success of your lice removal treatment
Do I have to treat everyone in the house?
Yes, the only way to put an end to a lice outbreak within your household, and avoid a re-infestation, is to make sure everyone has been checked and treated by a professional.
This is also a required component of our 100% lice free, 30 day guarantee.
How can I prevent my child from getting lice?
To minimize future risk, we recommend pulling long hair back or styling in a ponytail or braid, whenever possible. This will help make it more difficult for lice to transfer via head-to-head contact from one infested person to another.