About Head Lice

 

Getting Rid of Lice Index
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  • Pictures, Treatments, Facts and Info about their Life Cycle and how they infect us!

What are Head Lice?
Head lice are a major problem for many children each year; however there are lots of effective methods, techniques and products to help you get rid of head lice as quickly and safely as possible, so don't panic! Head lice (plural for head 'louse') are tiny parasites that live and feed on our scalps. Scientifically classified as Pediculus humanus capitis, head lice have a three stage lifecycle, all of which takes place on the head (egg/nit, nymph and adult). Head lice do not carry or transmit any infectious diseases; however they do cause embarrassment, irritability and discomfort. Before we look at ways of catching, identifying, removing, treating and preventing them it should be made clear that having head lice is NOT a sign of being unclean, dirty, poor or unhygienic. They will crawl onto any head, given half the chance, as they do not discriminate between clean and dirty - they simply want to bite the skin, feed on the blood, mate and multiply. It's our job to stop them!

How can you get Head Lice?
It is easy to catch head lice if you allow yourself to be exposed. They are commonly transmitted via head-to-head contact with somebody who is infested however they could also be caught through the sharing of (infected) hair brushes, combs, pillows, towels, hats (headgear) and scarves. Children between the ages of 3 and 12 years old are most likely to catch head lice, as schools make a perfect breeding ground. Spending all day together in classrooms, on buses, at after-school clubs and sharing coat hangers, kits, lockers, etc all open children up to the risk of catching head lice. As they can go undetected for weeks (some have little or no symptoms), children may not know that they have head lice or know that they are exposing them to others. The parasites can then be transported back to the homes of families where they can be unknowingly passed on to brothers, sisters, parents, grand-parents, neighbours and so on.

About Head Lice
Head lice can be identified by a thorough check, using a detection comb. This type of comb is also useful in extracting and removing head lice. They are wingless (so do not fly) and unable to hop or jump, but they do have six legs which allow them to crawl and scurry through our hair and from one host to another. They are around 1-2 mm in size and range from a whitish grey to a reddish brown. The female adult head lice lay their eggs (also known as nits) close to the scalp and attach them to hair shafts with cement-like saliva. This makes them practically impossible to remove with ordinary shampooing or brushing and it also makes them difficult to find without the right tools. The eggs will hatch and nymphs (smaller versions of adult head lice) will crawl out to feed, moult 3 times and develop to adults. The empty casing of the nits will be left attached to the hair shaft. You therefore will be looking for eggs, nymphs and adults when checking a head for an infestation. You are only diagnosed with an infestation if live adult lice are spotted.

What are Head Lice

head lice on head
 
Treatment of Head Lice
Removing and treating head lice work hand in hand. You can pick the nits or eggs out with your fingers/tweezers or try to draw them out with a detection comb (metal ones are more effective). For ideas and information on treatments and remedies please visit our treatments for head lice and head lice remedies page. Everyone who has head lice should be treated at the same time, so it is important to try to determine the source of the problem, how they were caught and to also alert everyone that may have been in contact with an infected person, as they will also need to be checked. Head lice treatments often only target the adult lice, so a second application will be needed to kill any newly hatched eggs, approximately 12-14 days after the first application. Most products will have directions of use and these should be followed carefully.
 

 

 

How do you get Head Lice?
Head lice can cause children and families so much upset and embarrassment that it is important to do what we can to avoid them. Educating the community on what they are, how they are spread and what simple steps could help prevent them may increase our chances of being free of head lice. There are no products that can guarantee you will not catch head lice, and repellents are not said to be full proof. However, if children are to keep their belongings separate at school (bags, coats, kits, hats, gloves, etc), not put their heads together at play time, share pillows and head rests, share brushes, combs, hats, ribbons, clips and scarves, etc - all will help. Some countries in Europe encourage children to take special sealable bags into school with them to keep their belongings away from others. Others believe that regular hair checks will reduce the chances of outbreaks as people will be alerted sooner if they have them. Always watch out for the signs! If your children are constantly scratching their hair - act fast.

How to Kill Head Lice
Thousands of people search to find out about different types of parasites and how to get rid of them. Fortunately there are so many products available on line, you should be able to find what you want without too much of a problem. We hope that you have found this article a useful guide and that any questions you may have had have been answered. You will find that this website is a great resource, whether you are looking to learn more, purchase products or just seek some quiet information. Men, women and children are all affected by lice and we hope you have located the treatment you may need, be it a comb, lotion, cream, medication or shampoo. Treatments and remedies should be sought after quickly and if you have pubic-lice you should seek medical advice so they cannot be spread or infect others.

Head Lice

How do you get Head Lice

  • Combs, Liquids, Lotions, Insecticides and Medication for control
  • Facts and Information about a body louse, hair louse and pubic louse
  • How do you get head-lice? Remedies that work!
  • Need pubic-lice treatment? Find out what to do here
  • Symptoms of head-lice? Search our information on Combs!
  • Life Cycle of the louse and information on possible prevention methods, treatment and avoidance
  • What is a lice-body? Take a look at our Picture pages

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Head Lice - Getting Rid of Lice