FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION ABOUT HEAD LICE
What are head lice?
Head lice (Pediculus Capitis) are insects that are found on human head on the scalp and hair. These insects are parasitic in nature and feed on human blood that they suck through the scalp. They are almost a quarter on size as compared to rice grain and somewhat brownish in color. Though they are difficult to spot especially when they are in hair, but they can be seen by naked eyes when you put strain on your eyes.
How does one suspect that one has head lice?
A head louse can be very irritating as it very hard to find in the human hair due to its color and causes itching. But whenever there is itching in head, doesn't mean that there are head lice. The only sure indication is when you see a head louse (lice is plural for head louse) in head.
Is head live seen in people with poor hygiene?
Often it is confused that that people with bad hygiene are infested with head lice. Head lice has nothing to do with personal hygiene, and they spread when people come in contact with a person already affected by head lice.
How do head lice spread?
Head lice are wingless creatures and cannot fly or swim. They spread whenever a person comes in direct contact with an infected person, or maybe using a comb that an infected person is using, or may be through bedrolls and pillows which a louse may use to migrate to other person scalp.
How did head lice come into existence?
It would be interesting to know when did head lice started, but as in case of all living beings, nobody knows this fact. But it is assured that they have been accompanying humans since quite long.
What is the life span of head louse?
The life cycle of head lice is very small, approximately 40 days in total. There entire life cycle is divided in three phases, i.e. nits, nymphs and adults. Nits are somewhat off-white in color and these are eggs which are laid by female head louse. Nits are very difficult to be identified as they are very small and can be often confused as dandruff. Once nits are layed, it takes around a week's time for these nits to hatch. After hatching, they lice are undeveloped and immature and are called nymphs. The life cycle of nymphs is approximately a week, but they are mature enough to suck blood during this period. After a week, these nymphs are developed in a fully grown adult head lice. They have six legs with claws which they use to hold the hair firmly to avoid falling from the head. An adult head lose lives nearly 30 days on a human head if it is lucky. If it falls from a human head, it will hardly survive for 48 hours if it fails to find another human host as it survives only on human blood.
How fast can head lice multiply?
A female head louse can start laying eggs within 10 days of adult lifecycle. A female louse can lay upto 100 eggs during her entire life cycle on the human head. Not all of them hatch, hence at a time not many head lice are present in the head.
How can head lice be prevented?
Avoid use of others comb, caps, and mufflers. Make sure that the bed lines have been properly cleaned before you lie on it. Avoiding head to head contact if you know the person is infested with head lice. Though these are golden rules for head lice, it is very hard to make them follow to children's. Hence it is found that most of the infected people are children.
Can head lice be removed without medications?
If you want to avoid applying medicated lotions, you might prefer wet combing or combing on oiled hair with special fine comb as the best option. These combs are designed specifically for head lice, as the space between two teeth of comb is very small, which avoids the louse getting slipped through it. Also as the hair is wet or oiled, the grip of lice on hair is comparatively weaker as compared to dry hair. The only problem comes when you have to comb again and again, which sometimes can leave a burning sensation on the scalp.
Last updated on 18-08-2008