Tiny and annoying, head lice can turn into a major problem if they hitch a ride home on your child’s head. Lice cannot jump and they do not fly, but they are excellent hitchhikers. Most objects that are regularly in contact with the hair may harbor lice. This includes hats, scarves, coat hoods, helmets, pillows, sleeping bags, combs and brushes. Teach children not to share these items, and they should hang hats and coats on individual hooks. Check your child for nits if a school lice notice is sent home. That way you can catch any infestation early. Learn the signs and symptoms of head lice. Excessive scratching and small red sores or bumps on the back of the neck and scalp are a warning sign. Not everyone will experience these signs, so it is always important to still perform a lice check on your child.
“All treatment options are natural and organic!”
Head Lice and Facts
Pediculus capitis (head lice) are parasitic wingless insects that live on the head and feed on the blood of humans. An adult is called a louse and is about the size of a sesame seed. The eggs are called nits and are even smaller sometimes mistaken for dandruff flakes.
The eggs (nits) are white when first laid, then turn a reddish brown color once they have been fed and stick to the hair shaft by a glue substance in which the female louse creates to protect the egg.
Headlice and nits are mainly detected behind the neckline and the ears, this being the warmest part of the head, and the darkest area for them to hide.
A mature female louse lays about 6 eggs a day, eggs are white and less than 1mm long. Nits hatch in 7-10 days and reach maturity in 10-12 days, in which they live as an adult for up to about month on the scalp.
An adult louse can live up to 72 hours off the head and will die of starvation and dehydration within that time frame.
Head lice are contagious, and more commonly found in children between the ages of 3-11. Close contact along with the sharing of brushes, hats, helmets, and hair ties are the main causes of infestations.
Tips and tricks you can use at home to break the cycle
All family members should be checked for Head lice as this is the most vital part in breaking the cycle of lice. If found, you should be treated right away. Once the treatment has been done, the following process should be followed.
• Remove all hair from brushes and combs and soak in hot boiling water for 10 minutes or soak in alcohol for about an hour.
• Wash all hair accessories. (hats, hair ties and headbands)
• Strip bedding and wash on hot cycle and put into the dryer.
• Do not share brushes combs or pillows.
• Avoid head to head contact as much as possible.
• Keep long hair tied back at school.
• Keep your follow up appointment with your head lice specialist as this is an important part of your plan to break this cycle.
Note: There is no need to wash plastic toys, as lice only lives’ on human hair and feeds on human blood, so the longer they are away from their environment, the weaker they become. But if you want to make sure that you have a louse free home, a good thing is to seal stuffed toys in a plastic bag for approx 2 weeks.
Never share a Hat or Comb or Lice could Make your Head their Home
Questions and answers
Q: How will I know if my child has Head lice?
A: When lice bite, due to the reaction of the saliva, you may itch and scratch, and feel a tickling in the hair. You should then check your child and family’s hair or contact a Lice removal specialist that has the required experience to successfully remove the lice. Some children do not experience these symptoms.
Q: I can see small white dots in my child’s hair are these eggs or dandruff?
A: Dandruff can be shaken out from the hair. Eggs can’t as they are stuck with a special glue that the female louse covers her egg with. Eggs are about half inch down from the scalp and white in color until they have their first meal, in which the color changes to a reddish brown.
Q: How are Head lice spread?
A: Head lice are spread with direct head to head contact along with the sharing of hats, scarves, pillows and clothing.
Q: Can Head lice fly?
A: No, head lice do not fly. They actually crawl from head to head by direct contact and have claws that cling to the hair.
Q: How long do Head lice live?
A: Head lice are able to live up to 1 month on the head. They can’t survive more than 72 hrs without blood from the host.
Q: Can our pets contact Head lice?