Head lice are microscopic insects that reside in people’s hair and feed on the blood of those who are infected with them. Lice adhere their eggs to their host’s hair, preventing them from being brushed or shaken off easily.
It takes around six to nine days for lice eggs to hatch. It takes around seven or more days for them to mature into egg-laying adults once they have hatched. Lice die relatively fast (typically within two days) if they are not fed, and they cannot survive for lengthy periods of time away from a person’s head.
How are head lice spread?
The infection is spread by intimate personal contact as well as through the sharing of common things such as combs, helmets, hats, scarves, and beds.
Normally, lice are incapable of jumping or moving on smooth surfaces such as glass or plastic.
They can, however, move at speeds of up to 23 cm/min and be ejected to heights of over 1 m when combing or removing the headgear.
Type of lice
They are parasitic parasites that live on your head, body, or pubic region. They frequently cause extreme irritation. The lice that utilize you as a host will die within five to seven days if they slip off your body.
Here are the three varieties of lice that may infect humans:
Head lice that attach to the scalp have six legs. Seeing as each louse is the size of a sesame kernel, A female louse may lay up to 10 nits every day, which are connected to scalp hairs. Nits are more difficult to detect than insects.
Body lice are rarer than head lice. Body lice usually affect persons who can’t bathe or wash regularly. Unlike head lice, body lice prefer to deposit their eggs in seams of garments or bedding. Body lice feed on your blood multiple times every day.
Pubic lice: Under a microscope, pubic lice resemble tiny crabs. In addition to pubic hair, lice can be found on coarse body hair such as chest hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes.
The life cycle of lice
Nits: Adult female lice lay eggs near the base of human hair shafts, about a quarter-inch from the scalp. The nits are sticky, which keeps them securely attached to the hair shaft. Colorless, oval, and tiny, they are easily fooled for hair spray, dandruff, or scabs. Even when a louse hatches, its empty shell or “casing” remains securely attached to the hair shaft. An inch or more from the scalp is a nonviable egg or an empty shell casing.
Nymphs: To survive, immature lice (nymphs) must feed on human blood right away. They have six legs and are gray, white, or tan in hue. After 1-2 weeks, nymphs grow into adults.
Adults: They are 1-2 millimeters long with six legs and claws that grab human hair strands. If an infestation isn’t severe enough, they’re generally gray, white, or tan. They may live up to 30 days on a human scalp, but just 1-2 days without one. Female lice are bigger than male lice and can deposit up to six eggs every day if they can mate.
How do lice spread?
- Lice are transferred by intimate touches, such as head to head. HEAD AND PUBIC LICE ARE SPREAD FROM HAIR TO HAIR OR BODY. Also, personal things like caps and pillows might distribute them. Because these lice do not live long without a host, personal item transmission is rare.
- Head lice are indifferent to clean or unclean hair and are not readily removed with regular shampoos. Not bad hygiene creates lice.
- It’s easier to spread body lice by sharing clothes, bedding, or upholstered furniture. Infested garments or bedding might potentially distribute them.
- Sexual contact with an infected person spreads pubic lice.
- Since lice can’t fly or leap, any infection is triggered by direct touch between people or personal things.
- Since lice exclusively feed on people, pets cannot bring them in.
- Knowing what causes lice helps you guard against it.
- Teach children not to share hats, headphones, combs, brushes, or bicycles Keep longer hair off of your face.
- Hair-checking youngsters, especially those who scratch frequently.
- Wash any personal items that came into touch with an infected person’s head during an outbreak of lice in hot water (over 55°C or 130°F) and dry in a hot dryer for at least 15 minutes.
- For 14 days, non-washable items like pillows can be dry cleaned or packed in airtight plastic bags to kill lice.
- Don’t “disinfect” your home with pesticides. Many of these goods are harmful to human health.
- All brushes and combs should be soaked in hot water for 5-10 minutes or washed with a pediculicidal shampoo
- Vacuum carpets, furniture, beds, cushions, and any other surface where someone may have sat. Remember the car seats.
- Many parents are embarrassed to report their children’s lice to school officials, yet doing so is critical to halting its spread. Notify anybody who has come into touch with your kid if lice are found.