The Facts of Lice
Head lice are a very common problem, especially for kids. They're contagious, annoying, and sometimes tough to get rid of, but they pose no immediate health risk. Here’s what you need to know:
Lice is spread mainly through head-to-head contact (the research suggests 98% of the time!), but sharing clothing, bed linens, combs, and hats also can pass them along.
Kids are most prone to catching lice because they tend to have close physical contact with each other and share personal items.
Head lice are tiny insects that can vary in color from grayish white to reddish brown. Lice range in size from 2-4mm, approximately the size of a sesame seed.
A louse needs to eat every 2-3 hours and when they miss a meal (yes...your blood) they become weak. Once separated from its human host a louse will not survive more than 24 hours.
Lice have a life expectancy of 30 days.
Lice cannot jump or fly, but they do move at amazing speeds.
Did You Know?
As many as 50% of the individuals with head lice NEVER ITCH, and those who do itch only do so after they’ve had lice for 14 DAYS.
Head lice found on dark-haired or dark-skinned individuals will most likely be darker than those found on blonde-haired or lighter-skinned individuals.
Lice eggs, nits, are the shape of a tiny dark tadpole. Once hatched, they appear light or white.
The louse lays eggs by gluing them to the hair, and as a result the eggs will appear to be stuck to the hair shaft. Unlike dry skin or dandruff, nits will not move when disturbed.
Since eggs (nits) are glued to the hair, all the brushing and washing on earth won't help.
Final Facts About Lice
The female louse lays eggs twice a day and can lay as many as five nits at a time, or 10 nits a day.
Eggs (nits) generally hatch in 7-10 days.
- Nits found on an abandoned strand of hair have minimal chance of survival, they need the heat of the head and food immediately (yes, your blood!).
Head lice are human obligatory parasites, which means they only live on humans and need a human to survive.
Pets cannot contract head lice.
Head lice are among the most common reasons for absenteeism in schools across the country.
There are literary references to lice as far back as 16 B.C., where Egyptians once concocted their own remedies to combat head lice.