Head Lice – Little Blood Sucking Insects


Head lice (Pediculus capitis) are tiny parasitic insects well adapted to surviving mainly on the scalp and neck hairs of human host. Head lice are most often acquired by direct head-to-head contact with an infested person’s hair, but may rarely be transferred with shared combs or hair brushes, hats and other hair accessories.

They acquired nutrients by blood-feeding one to two times a day, and cannot survive for much more than a day at room temperature without ready availibity to human blood. These parasites can survive up to 30 days on a human holding on to hair with hook-like claws located at the end of each of their six legs. They are almost never found on the body, eyelashes, or eyebrows and rarely (if ever) cause direct harm, or transmit infectious agents from person-to-person. Head lice are equal opportunity parasites that do not respect socio-economic class distinctions and can infest people at any age, but children are prone to infestations because of their habit of playing in close quarters, sharing hats, headphones, combs and brushes, sleeping bags, stuffed animals, and garments.


The eggs of Head lice are called nits and are laid by the adult female at the bottom of the hair shaft closest to the scalp and look sort of like dandruff, only they can’t be gotten rid of by brushing or shaking them off.

The eggs hatch in about 7 to 11 days after being laid. Those further than one quarter inch away from the scalp have probably already hatched. Nits are most effectively eliminated by combing the hair with a specially created nit comb. The eggs can be recognized from dandruff flakes as they are extremely adherent to the hair shaft, while dandruff can be easily moved along the hair shaft.


Contact with an already infested person is the most routine way to get head lice. Less commonly, Wearing clothing, such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, or hair ribbons, recently worn by an infested person. There are four crucial steps to controlling an infestation: the use of an effective head louse remedy; nit removal from the head (combing); removal of lice and nits from the household environment by vacuuming, washing, or freezing things suspected of being infested; and daily head checks and nit removal until infestation is gone, followed by weekly head checks to find re-infestation. You health care professional should be able to tell you if your child is infested with lice and needs to be treated.


Therapy should be considered ONLY when active lice or viable eggs are observed. A treatment can produce significant side effects in children younger than 6 months old, the aged, and anyone weighing less than 110 lbs (50 kg), especially when it is used repeatedly over a short time period. If your child is 2 years old or under, you should never use medicated treatments. Your child’s MD may suggest repeating treatment in seven to ten days to make sure all the nits have been eliminated and to avoid any risk of re-infestation.

Treatments may be over-the-counter or prescription medicines, depending on what has already been tried. It is not uncommon for treatments to fail because of proper use or because the lice may be resistant to the chemical in the shampoo. Following the instructions on the product label is also important to ensure that the it works properly.

Medicated shampoos can usually kill the lice and nits, but it may take a few days for the itching to stop. Some don’ts include: Don’t use a hair dryer on your child’s hair after using any of the currently available scalp shampoos, because some contain flammable ingredients. Don’t wash your child’s hair for 1 to 2 days after using a medicated shampoo. Be patient and follow the protocol and preventative tips as directed by your child’s doctor for keeping the bugs at bay, and you’ll be well on your way to keeping your family lice-free.

If you feel like you’re following every recommendation and your child still has lice, it may be due to one or more of the following: there are still some nits left behind, your child is still being exposed to some person with lice, the shampoo you’re applying isn’t effective. If your child still has lice for two weeks after you started treatment or if your child’s scalp looks infected (with pus or sores), call your child’s doctor. Vacuuming the carpets, upholstery, and car seats will take care of any lice that fell off prior to treatment.


Head lice infect hair on the head and are more often found in close, overcrowded living conditions. Infestation causes intense itching, but does not lead to a serious medical condition. They may be spread when infested hair brushes or combs are shared or when infested bedding, towels or shower caps are shared. Head lice is an increasing problem because lice-killing medicines are growing less effective. Each year, between 6 and 12 million persons worldwide become infested.

Children ages three to eleven and their families become infested most often. Pets relatively are of no significance in transmitting human lice, and should not be treated. In one study, the estimated yearly cost of infestations in the United States was nearly $1 billion dollars. Girls get head lice more often than boys; women more often than men. Anyone may become infested and the presence of head lice is not the result of unclean conditions. Even though it can be challenging to eliminate, you must be patient and persistent when dealing with an infestation.

Ricardo Henri is the creator of Natural Remedies,Treatments And Cures,a site with a wealth of informationabout taking care of your health without depending on drugs and needless surgery. Subscribe to his monthly newsletter @ natural remedies treatments

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