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Learn the Top FAQs about Head Lice

Learn the Top FAQs about Head Lice
Updated on 
March 27, 2017

What are head lice?

Head lice are insects that can be found on the head, eyebrows, and eyelashes of humans. Head lice feed on human blood three times day and live close to the human scalp; they need the temperature of the human head to survive.

What do head lice look like?

Adults are about the size of a sesame seed, have 6 legs, are wingless and have a brownish tinge.

What do nits (eggs) look like?

Nits are laid on the hair shaft, close to the scalp and are glued to the hair shaft. They are oval in shape. They look brown when placed against a white background and are encased in a translucent shell.  

How do you identify a case of head lice?

how to identify case of head lice

It can be difficult to identify a case of head lice. Lice move quickly and scoot from the light. Use of a magnifying lens and a fine-toothed comb may assist in finding lice. If you don’t see a live bug, then look for nits that are cemented to the hair within a ¼ inch of base of the hair. Nits that are attached more than ¼ inch from the base of the hair shaft are usually dead or already hatched. Nits may be confused with other things found in the hair such as dandruff, product residue, or pieces of dirt. If you are unsure of a head lice diagnosis call in LiceDoctors and we can let you know for sure.

How long does it take for a nit to hatch?

Nits take 7-10 days to develop and hatch. Nits have an impenetrable shell which protects the baby louse.

How many nits does a louse lay?

A louse lays up to 6-10 eggs a day and can live 30 days before it dies. That means each bug can lay 180-300 eggs before it dies.

How long can lice live off of the head?

Lice feed on human blood from the scalp up to 3 times daily and will die within 24-36 hours when off the head.

Are lice dangerous and do they carry disease?

No, lice can cause itching and a rash, but do not carry disease. People ask can lice kill you? The answer is “no”.

how do I kill lice in the home

How do I kill lice in the home?

You do not need to bag all the toys or vacuum everything in the home. That is overkill because the lice and nits will be dead within a day off the head. You can wipe down the car seats and sofa with a cloth or lint brush but at LiceDoctors, we say, “It’s the head not the house” that makes the difference.

Do I have to throw away pillows from the bed to get rid of lice at home?

No. Lice are not like bed bugs. They can not live in the bedding. You can wash the sheets the day of the treatment to wash away any bugs that may have crawled off the head.

How do I clean our combs and brushes after lice treatment?

You can boil them for 3 minutes or leave them in the freezer overnight.

Do chemical lice treatments work to kill lice?

Do chemical lice treatments work to kill lice?

There is an increasing resistance among lice to the chemical shampoos/pesticides and, in addition, some of the more efficacious chemicals have been removed from the pesticides due to their harmful side effects. Today’s lice are so hearty/resistant as to be dubbed “super lice”. Neither prescription lice medication nor OTC shampoos can be guaranteed to kill lice. The best approach is to look at natural remedies for lice.

How are lice spread from person to person

How are lice spread from person to person?

Lice transmission is generally from head to head contact. Lice can be transferred through objects like caps, helmets, and hair brushes, but this is less common.

If my child has lice does that mean her hair was dirty?

No. Lice like clean hair. If there is too much oil in the hair, it is difficult for the louse to adhere to the hair.

Who gets head lice?

Anyone can get lice; no one is immune. In the U.S, infestation with head lice is usually found among pre-school children who attend child care and among elementary schoolchildren and their families to whom the lice spread from the infested child.

How to get rid of head lice?

The only remedy for head lice is to physically remove the nits from the hair. There are no shortcuts. Nits stick to the hair and you have to pull them off. Using a bright light helps to find the nits that camouflage in the hair. That is why many parents choose to bring in professional who knows how to identify nits and can get them all out.

How do you prevent head lice?

Unless you keep your child in a bubble, there is no guaranteed way to prevent head lice. Parents should check children’s hair weekly for lice. When possible use natural sunlight as it makes it easier to see lice and nits. Put long hair in a bun or braid and cover with lice repellent or hair spray, gel, or mousse.

Does everyone feel itchy from lice?

Does everyone feel itchy from lice?

No. A person may have several lice and be asymptomatic or may have one louse and itch a lot.

Do I have to tell my child’s friends and her school?

The choice is yours but it is better to let his/her friends know so that they can check to see if they have lice as well. If they do have lice, they need to eradicate it for themselves and so that they don’t transmit lice back to your child.

Does swimming spread head lice?

Head lice stay on the human head when submerged in a swimming pool. Chlorine does not kill head lice. If two people’s head are next to each other in a pool, then it is possible for lice to spread from one person to another.

What is the school policy regarding nits and allowing children back to school?

The American Pediatric Association has recommended that schools drop “no nit” policies as children were missing too much school. The association states that by the time a case is discovered, the child has been in school already for at least 2 weeks. Some schools maintain a “no nit” policy while others have dropped it.

Do pets carry lice?

Do pets carry lice?

No pets do not carry lice. Lice and nits only live on human’s heads.

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