The Low Down on Head Lice

Everyone needs the low down on head lice. Understanding head lice is key to prevention and treatment. Head lice have been around since the beginning of time, nits have been found on Egyptian mummies, Cleopatra had a gold lice comb and Lice is mentioned as a plaque in the Bible. So when ask where they came from, my general response is they were here long before us and probably will be here long after us. I am fascinated by the survival instincts these tiny little creatures posses.

Head Lice are tiny wingless, six legged ectoparasites that live on the human scalp and feed off human blood. Lice need blood and a warm environment to survive. The human head full of hair makes a perfect host providing a warm environment. Favorite hot spots are behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. Only the bald are safe from head lice. Head Lice do not like your pets either, only humans.

Once on your head they multiply quickly, although have a relatively short life span, about 30 days.  After taking up residence on your head a fertilized female lays a pinhead size whitish or tan colored egg also known as a nit. The mother excretes a glue like substance attaching the nit to the hair, usually very close to the scalp where it is warm and cozy. The nits hatch in about a week and are called nymphs. These nymphs reach adulthood about a week later and are able to reproduce. Once fertilized the mother louse lays 4-5 eggs twice a day. Adults are 2-3 mm long. The family grows rapidly!

Head Lice are easily transmitted through head to head contact and are a common occurrence among school age children. According to the Center for Disease Control (cdc.gov) there are 6-12 million head lice cases in the United States among children ages 3-11 years old. The American Academy of Pediatrics (aap.org) recommends that healthy children with head lice stay in school and avoid head to head contact with others. School policies vary, so know your school policy. When dealing with head lice be proactive, know the facts about head lice, talk about head lice and teach others about head lice. Don’t be embarrassed, be knowledgeable and proactive. Education is the best way to help others get past head lice. Yes, Lice are gross but it happens to the best of us and is a common occurrence. Remember there are worse things to have than head lice!!! Do I dare say things could be worse…? Remember to laugh and get a good lice comb!!!H

Any funny lice stories, please share them.