Head lice are a nuisance. A problem that many families across the world deal with. In fact, it is such a common problem that most people will deal with head lice at least once in their lifetime. If you know what head lice are, how they live and how to identify them you can much more easily recognize when a case of head lice hits your home. Nits or eggs are where the problem begins. These fast facts will help you win the battle against head lice!
Fact #1 – Head lice lay eggs, called nits, very close to the scalp. Usually 6 mm within the actual scalp of their host.
Fact #2 – The nit is glued onto a single hair strand with a secretion from the female that makes it much more difficult to remove than a piece of dandruff. It is literally cemented onto the hair strand for protection.
Fact #3 – Nits need the warmth of a human host to survive. If they are knocked off or removed they will die and wither away within 24 hours if a new host is not found.
Facts #4 – Nits are extremely small, making them difficult to see. They are .8 mm by.3 mm in size, oval and colored a yellowish-white, making them almost transparent.
Fact #5 – Because of their transparent color, nits are often seen as the color of the hair of the person they infect. This can make them even more camouflaged and difficult to identify.
Fact #6 – Nits take close to a week to hatch. Anywhere from 6 to 9 days on average.
Fact #7 – Once an egg has hatched, the shell of that egg remains connected to the hair strand, often appearing more white in color as it is now just an empty casing.
Fact #8 – Nits need to be peeled off of the hair strand, and will not simply flake off, as would a piece of dried dandruff or excess hairspray.
Fact #9 – A single female louse can lay up to 8 nits per day. This means that within a week just one adult female can invade a scalp with close to 60 nits. The average case of head lice is not identified until close to 20 adult lice are present. That is a lot of eggs being laid per day.
Fact #10 – Most commonly head lice are passed through direct head to head contact. However, passing a nit from one person to another is possible through sharing combs, brushes, hats, towels, or any other items that could potentially be a carrier.
Still have questions or concerns? Lice Clinics of Texas is your BEST source for all things head lice. We are your local source for prevention, elimination, and helpful advice during your head lice outbreak. Call our knowledgeable staff today to find some answers.
Whether you have dealt with head lice before or this is your first go-around, knowing where to start can seem like a daunting task. For centuries people have used wild and creative methods to eliminate head lice. Ever seen a Pharoah or Egyptian goddess with their stylish jewels and large gold headpieces? Most likely these were ways to distract from the fact that most Egyptians had shaved heads to help ward off head lice. Notice how most Medieval Times features fur coats, jackets or vests? During this era, it was believed that head lice would prefer the warmth and comfort of animal fur and move from their human victim onto the fur pieces. It may sound crazy to us, yet there are all types of modern-day head lice remedies that seem just as strange.
Garlic is for Repelling Vampires, but What About Head Lice?
Some parents in the UK swear that adding a special mixture of ingredients, mainly garlic and lime juice to everyday shampoos will kill head lice.
THE PROBLEM: Obviously garlic in large amounts, this recipe calls for 10 cloves, produces a putrid smell. Can you imagine putting that in your hair for thirty minutes at a time? Not to mention, they suggest repeating the process every week for TWO months. Yikes. That is a recipe for an aroma disaster my friends…not a truly effective head lice remedy.
Mayonaisse or Vaseline? You Probably Have Both Laying Around Your Home
This particular home remedy is a common one. People believe that if they apply enough mayo or vaseline to the scalp, then proceed to cover it in plastic overnight that the head lice will suffocate. This could be partly true, however, incredibly ineffective and potentially dangerous.
THE PROBLEM: Depending on how young the child may be, we NEVER recommend putting plastic on your child’s head, especially overnight. This could lead to suffocating the child. Also, head lice can hold their breath for up to 8 hours. And, this method is not effective at all in killing nits, or lice eggs. So ultimately, it would need to be repeated every 7-10 days to kill head lice that were newly hatched, if it does kill them at all. Our suggestion, save the mayo for your next backyard BBQ with the neighbors.
Hair Straighteners, Hair Dryers, and Hair Trimmers, Oh My!
According to some sources, one out of four parents admits to using a hair straighter to attempt burning head lice out of their child’s scalp. The image of that is disturbing, although we do understand the desperation that parents have probably reached by that point. Others say that keeping a hot hairdryer on the scalp for an extended period of time has been their go-to when nothing else seemed to work. Others, yes about 50% of parents, admit that they have considered shaving the child’s head to finally be rid of head lice.
THE PROBLEM: First of all, beauty tools such as curling irons, hair straighteners, and hair dryers were never designed as head lice removal tools. These instruments are designed to reach up to 365 – 400 degrees! Imagine the severe damage that could be done to a child’s scalp when these devices are used improperly. Especially, if left on for significant periods attempting to burn out head lice or nits. Consider also, no child thinks of having head lice as a pleasant experience. To shave their head or chop off their hair would only add to the humiliation and harshness of their problem.
This process is science in action, leaving behind the mess, worry, and uncertainty if your treatments are even working. Leave this problem to the professionals who have eliminated head lice for thousands of people, just like you! Call Lice Clinics of Texas to get the help you need.
Head lice are causing fear and worry all across the United States this Halloween. More and more children are becoming infected as lice is worse than it has been in decades in our public school systems and everyday life.
In fact, Lice Clinics of Texas has opened clinics all across the country where we treat people who become infected with head lice. Our clinics help hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children with their head lice problems.
Here are 10 SPOOKY things you didn’t know about head lice that will surely cause your heart to race and your palms to sweat!
#1 – There has been a 30% increase this yearin the cases of head lice reported! Some states, such as Washington and Oregon, have seen a 60-80% rise in head lice cases.
#2- Head lice bite the scalp and drink human blood. A louse will inject saliva into the scalp that actually prevents blood from clotting, allowing them to snack on the same spot a few times before they move on. If this doesn’t gross you out, you might need to stop watching vampire movies.
#3 – Head lice saliva and fecal matter are left on the skin of the scalp. These bodily fluids are the main reason that people infected with head lice feel itchiness and soreness. The traces of saliva and fecal matter from head lice can cause allergic reactions and irritations to the scalp.
#4 – If you are seeing adult head lice on your child’s scalp, they have actually been infected for several weeks. Head lice start out by a single adult who lays eggs. An adult louse takes up to two weeks to mature. This means that there have been lice and nits, or lice eggs on your child’s head for several weeks for symptoms and problems to start manifesting from several adult lice.
#5 – A single adult female can layone hundred eggs in just a few days. Twenty four hours after mating, a female will begin to lay her first eggs. She continues laying again, and again, and again for several weeks. As you can see, if you have several adult female lice on a scalp, the problem will escalate quickly.
#6 – Head lice are more active at night. This frightening little fact could be a big reason that your child is not able to sleep. Think of all the little head lice slowly crawling from hair strand to hair strand while they lay in bed at night.
#7 – Water does not kill head lice. They are able to hold their breath underwater for several hours. This is why simply shampooing or bathing does not kill head lice.
#8 – Girls are more likely to attract head lice! Why is that? Head lice are more common in long hair because they can easily attach to it when in direct contact with another person who is infected. The longer your hair, the higher your chance of getting head lice.
#9 – Head lice can lie in wait on pillows, bedding, small crevices in the fabric on furniture in search of a new human host. If a louse does not have the blood and warmth of a human host for 24 hours it will die. Once a louse if knocked off of a scalp they will jump at the chance to find a new victim to infest.
#10- Over the counter shampoos DO NOT KILL HEAD LICE! Lice are showing resistance to insecticides that have been designed to kill them. For years overuse and reliance on shampoos and powders have created “super lice” that are immune to their potency. No single product from a general store can kill eggs and head lice in one treatment.
If these facts don’t start to scare you – we don’t know what will! Contact Lice Clinics of Texas today for the facts on how to be rid of head lice!
National Pediculosis Association (NPA), an organization that uses its time and resources to help educate parents about the importance of head lice health, has declared September National Head Lice Prevention Month. This is important because the education of head lice health to parents is the best preventive measure we can take for the general welfare of public health.
Their message to parents across the nation is this – Comb First! In an effort to help parents understand the risks of contracting head lice and how to effectively screen for it, they have added resources and an educational campaign against head lice on their website HeadLice.org.
This effort focuses on the importance of parents screening children for lice at home, knowing the signs and symptoms of head lice and working with schools to ensure parents are notified of proper procedures and policies.
The president of NPA, Deborah Altschuler recently stated, “Parents simply can’t rely on government agencies for proper guidance on lice prevention and treatment and must be prepared for pediculosis (lice infestation) regardless of school policy, FDA dogma or product marketing information.”
This statement comes as a recent backlash to many school districts across the country that have neglected to send notifications home after head lice outbreaks were found. Such as this weeks news report from a district in Wentzville, Missouri. The truth is, school districts are not always required to notify parents or do not take the time to do so.
National Pediculosis Associations message to parents is simple! Take the time to screen your own children. Educate yourself on the best ways to do so. Stay in the loop of your children’s school policies. Protect yourself and your children through preventative measures.
How Can Lice Clinics of Texas Help You Be a ProActive Parent?
We offer head lice screenings at our clinics. We can show you the proper way to screen for head lice, teach you what to look for, and even help you identify if you have a head lice problem.
The NPA urges parents to remember, “Everyone wins when everyone combs!”
Our staff can supply you with the top of the line combing tools available so that you can protect your child with head lice screenings often. The best times to check are often after shampooing when their hair is wet. Simply use the nit-picking comb to look through their hair strands, particularly around the nape of the neck, behind the ears, and at the crown of the head. This can go a long way in preventing a head lice outbreak.
Pesticide Shampoos Are Something We Steer Clear Of
Lice Clinics of Texas is proud to offer the latest technology in head lice removal. We offer safe, alternative methods to harsh pesticides and insecticides that can burn skin, absorb into the body and cause reactions. Call our clinic today to discuss your concerns or questions with a professional Lice Clinic expert!
“Parents who have a quality lice comb can identify and successfully end an infestation early and safely when there are fewer lice and nits present,” remarks NPA president Deborah Altschuler. “Each child protected from a pesticide shampoo is a victory for that child.“
We all know what head lice are…or do we? There are actually a lot of common misconceptions about these pesky little critters. If you are dealing with a head lice problem in your home you might want to brush up on the facts!
Do Head Lice Bite? YES!
Just the thought of tiny bugs crawling through your hair biting you can make anyone feel sick. But think about it! An adult louse will feed 5 to 6 times per day. The average person with a case of head lice is carrying 10-12 lice at a time. This averages over 50 head lice bites per day that person is infected. This is why adequate treatment is extremely important. A problem with head lice, left for even a few days can really escalate quickly.
I Thought They Sucked Blood?
Kind of. Lice have a mouth that acts as a tube with a suction cup on the end. They grab a hold of the skin on the scalp and push through small sharp teeth that penetrate the skin. As they feed, the skin is broken leaving red bumps and marks on the scalp.
What is a Nit? Does it Bite?
Lice eggs, or nits, are not yet hatched and therefore unable to bite. As soon as an egg hatches, the newborn nymph will actively start looking for its first meal. Nymphs will bite and fed on human blood the same as adult lice while they grow and mature into adulthood.
Do the Lice Bites Cause the Itchiness?
As head lice bite they leave broken skin and open sores. They can become dry and irritated resulting in itchiness. This is just one of the reasons. As a louse drinks human blood, they salivate a substance that prevents the blood from clotting as they eat. This saliva is spread over the skin of the host and causes significant allergic reactions. Ever wonder how lice move around? As lice crawl around from hair strand to hair strand on the scalp they use hook-like claws on the tip of their legs. This gives off a tickling or irritating feeling that can lead to itchiness. The combination of bites, saliva, and crawling make itching a major symptom in indicating a head lice infestation.
My Child’s Scalp is Itchy? What do I do Now?
The first thing we recommend is using a nit comb, or fine tooth comb to examine your child’s scalp. Pay special attention to behind the ears, near the base of the neck and the crown of the head. These are the areas head lice like to linger and lay their eggs most often. While examining look for yellowish, oval eggs that are very near the base of the scalp. They will not easily flake off as dandruff would, but will be peeled off only using the fine tooth comb. Watch for red irritated bumps or rashes. Live lice will scurry away quickly from direct light and may be difficult to spot. If you do see any small, sesame seed-sized brown bugs crawling on the hair you clearly have a case of head lice.
When you find your family has been hit with head lice you might ask yourself one simple question. What came first, the head lice or the egg? The answer is pretty simple. The louse. To fully get a grasp on what is happening you need to understand the life cycle of head lice.
Three Stages of Head Lice
Nit – the egg
Nymph – the young, immature head lice
Louse – the fully mature head lice
The adult female louse is capable of laying about 6-10 eggs per days. Head lice need a warm, human host to live and thrive. They are always looking for a new head to call home. Head lice do not jump, hop or fly. They crawl using clawlike feet from hair strand to hair strand. They are incapable of crawling on flat surfaces. Consequently, they are most often contracted through direct head to head contact with someone else who is carrying head lice. Children between the ages of 6-14 are most often more at risk than adults. However, if a child in your home has head lice you are also highly likely to catch it.
Once a new human host is found, the female goes to work laying her eggs in the new, humid and ripe environment. An average louse lives for 30 days from nit stage to death. A nymph reaches adulthood after 8 days. Within 10 hours of adulthood, most females are already mating and laying eggs. For this reason, you can see how quickly one louse can turn into a whole scalp full of head lice.
Nitpicking Quick Tips
Females lay their eggs very near the scalp. Their body naturally produces a secretion that cements the eggs onto a single hair strand. This protects it from flaking off as a piece of skin or dandruff would. Nits are oval in shape and change from yellow to white in color after they hatch. Once an egg is laid it will generally hatch within 8-10 days.
Nits are virtually impossible to kill with over the counter shampoos. They need to be nitpicked off of the scalp to really prevent reinfection. Using a nitpicking comb, parents can sift through the child’s scalp and peel off the unhatched eggs to remove them. This process can be extremely tedious but is very important in getting rid of the problem.
Head lice are a human parasite that is indeed highly contagious. Here at Lice Clinics of Texas one of the most frustrating and common scenarios we see is parents that finally come to us because they simply cannot get rid of head lice. Their child may have brought it into the home from school or daycare and the problem seems to never go away, no matter how many store-bought treatments they use. Over and over again this is a common problem.
Why Can’t People Get Rid of Head Lice?
Simply put, because head lice are so contagious, often people have a difficult time eliminating them when trying to use over the counter home treatments. This could be because they neglect to screen every household member for head lice. This means that it continues to get passed on from one person to another. Checking every member, even adults is crucial to making sure it’s gone for good.
Talk to your kid’s friends parents. Sometimes your child could be getting reinfected from the original source without you realizing it. If you don’t find out where the head lice came from, the chance of reinfection is a definite possibility.
Keep in mind, pets do not play a role in the transfer of head lice. This is strictly a human parasite.
Sometimes the problem is that parents neglect to properly clean the home, bedding and hair accessories that will still have traces of head lice or nits. If a child is treated with head lice, then lays in the same bed that is infected, the problem will continue to be a vicious cycle.
The products you are using simply do not work. Commonly head lice are hard to eliminate because nits are still lingering behind. Even if every adult louse is killed on the scalp if nits are left that can hatch the problem just cycles through again. Head lice treatments from the store are not effective in killing head lice and their nits.
Tips to Remember
Head lice can happen to anyone. This does not indicate that someone is dirty or unkempt. These parasites are problematic for children of all ages and social classes. It doesn’t matter where you live or how often you bathe. Short hair or long hair is not a factor unless of course, you have no hair at all! The point is, head lice are everywhere.
Here are some tips to prevent head lice and reinfestation:
Remind children to avoid head to head contact with classmates, friends, or anyone while they compete in sports, play at the gym or attend school. Even neighbors or cousins who could come into your home may be passing head lice onto your family.
Make sure kids are not sharing combs, brushes, hats, scarves, hoodies, hair bows, hair clips, towels, helmets, or any other items that could have traces of nits or head lice.
Teach kids not to lie on beds, pillows, bean bags, or blankets from other children who have had head lice recently.
Every few days double check that each member of your family or anyone who has had close contact with head lice is not showing symptoms. Treat head lice quickly and clean all bedding or accessories that could be reinfecting family members.
Head lice have been around for ages. In fact, since the beginning of our species men have been plagued with this parasite. Various cultures have experienced a significant impact from head lice. From the ancient Egyptians to the American cowboy, head lice have been bugging humans for centuries. How did they treat head lice back when Pharaohs ruled the land? What did those western cowboys do to find some relief? You may find out they are not so different from us when you dive into the history of head lice and treatments.
Walk Like An Egyptian
Egyptian gods and goddesses have been intriguing historians for centuries as creatures of beauty and great power. We know now that recent archaeological findings prove lice impacted the Egyptian culture significantly. Mummified corpses once examined prove that intact head lice are still present on their scalp, some numbering over 400 head lice on a single scalp. It may seem like a fashion statement to some, but often Egyptian women, children and most often priests or royalty would shave their entire bodies to prevent lice. They would wear beautiful, elaborate hair pieces or wigs that were symbols of power and wealth. Who knew these fashion icons were actually just trying to be rid of head lice?
Lords and Ladies of the Land had Head Lice
The Dark Ages was a time of brutality, coldness and horrendous medical theories. Medieval men and women lived in close quarters, shared beds, owned limited pairs of clothing, and obviously had limited resources for proper personal hygiene methods. These circumstances and living conditions made it a time when lice plagued everyone, from the wealthy royal to the common peasant. Some folklore suggests that lard and oils were used to try and suffocate the lice and eggs. Another folk tale says that Lord and Ladies of old would wear fur vests and cloaks in hopes that the lice would prefer the lush fur and make their way into its warmth. However naive and idiotic that might seem to us, I’m sure they were willing to try anything to find some relief from head lice.
Frontiersmen Fought off Lice
The great American cowboy was no stranger to head lice. Especially as war, devastation, hard times and poverty became part of their lifestyle. Hospital wards, soldiers quarters and poor living conditions for families and soldiers made head lice a great problem in the Wild West. Among artifacts found from that time period are many bone-derived lice combs. These were small in length, only a few inches, and usually derived from buffalo or cow bone.
Early 20th Century vs. Modern Science
When WW II soldiers were trapped in trenches and fighting for their life many diseases and human ailments were passed from soldier to soldier. Luckily by that time in history scientists had worked to develop pesticides that counteracted malaria-borne diseases carried from mosquitos. These same treatments were thought to work in killing lice and their nits, as well. Today we know that harsh chemicals are not the best approach. Thanks to modern science, over the counter shampoos and chemical treatments, are becoming a thing of the past.
Head lice are the plural form of an insect that infects people. The louse, a single head lice, is a tiny insect about ⅛ inch long that uses human heads for a food source and heat source to survive. They feed on human blood several times per day. Head lice have a short 30-day lifespan but reproduce very quickly. Nits, or lice eggs, are hatched every 7-9 days, and lice mature quickly after that. Nits are white colored oval eggs that are literally glued to the base of hair strands when laid by the female. Although difficult to get rid of and pesky to deal with, head lice are not considered a health hazard.
Who can get head lice?
Anyone can get head lice, but most commonly children between the ages of 3-10. Although the number of older children and teens we see with head lice is definitely on the rise. They are not a sign of being dirty. Head lice are found everywhere throughout the world and are not an indication of race, social status, cleanliness or hygiene issues.
How does a head lice infestation occur?
Head lice are most commonly spread through direct head to head contact with someone else who is infected. They cannot jump or fly. Rather, they crawl quickly through the hair and find a new host to spread to. Personal items are also a quick way to become infected if shared with some who has head lice. Anything that touches the hair could potentially be harboring head lice. Animals do not spread head lice, they are a human parasite.
What are the signs of a head lice infestation?
Commonly head lice symptoms will take 2 to 3 weeks to start to manifest. Head lice and nits are most often found behind the ears, the neckline and the crown of the head. Some clear indications include an itchy scalp, scratch marks, red bumps from bites or rashes from irritated skin caused by fecal matter and saliva from head lice. If you need help diagnosing head lice, call Lice Clinics of Texas to perform a head lice check. Staff members are able to diagnose your problem and offer you quick and easy solutions. One reason this is advantageous for most parents is that it can be difficult to determine between head lice eggs, nits, and common dandruff.
How do you treat head lice?
For year doctors typically recommended over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medicated (lice-killing) product. Unfortunately, head lice treatments such as OTC creams, pyrethrin based shampoos products, and powders are proving to be ineffective against the new wave of super head lice we are seeing across the United States and other countries. Overuse of these products for decades has made the head lice immune to their active ingredients.
How should you clean up the environment?
Lice that are knocked off of the human head are unable to survive longer than 24 hours. Nits that leave the warmth and humid environment of their human host can live up to two days on items used by the infected person. For that reason, we recommend the following to ensure head lice are not reintroduced to anyone in your home.
-Wash bedding, clothing, towels, pillows or any washable items that are possibly contaminated in hot water (above 130° F) and dry in a hot dryer.
-Clean combs, brushes and similar items by heating in water of at least 130° F for 10 minutes or in bleach water for thirty minutes.
-Clean floors, carpeting, and furniture by thorough vacuuming only. The use of insecticide sprays is not necessary.
-Cleaning efforts should happen on the day that head lice treatment is given. This will ensure that there is no reinfection and that the procedure will be effective.
Have you noticed your child scratching their head lately? Do they complain of an itchy and irritated scalp? Maybe you are concerned they might have a head lice problem but are thinking it could just be something you can ignore? Won’t the head lice just die off on their own?
Head lice need to be treated effectively to take care of the problem. Here is why head lice won’t just fade away with time.
Head Lice Are Extremely Contagious
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 6-12 million children in the United States will have a case of head lice this year alone. Most of these children are between the ages of 3-10. That means that any older kids, adults or elderly people sharing a home with these children are also at a much higher risk for infection. It is rare that only one person in a household will contract lice once it is initially brought into the home.
Head lice are most commonly passed on through direct head to head contact. A hug, sharing a book together on the couch, taking a picture or just watching your favorite TV show together in a recliner are all ways head lice can be easily passed on from family members. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not checking everyone in the family for head lice. If you do not, the problem will just continue to be passed along from person to person until you eventually have everyone treated.
Understand the Life Cycle of Head Lice
The average life cycle of a louse is 30 days. Once lice find their way onto a human host they begin to lay eggs. Females become fully mature after about two weeks. At this point, they will lay up to 10 eggs per day on a scalp. The nits, or eggs, will take 7-9 days to hatch. As those nymphs or young head lice mature they will molt several different times while they grow and develop into adults. Each female that matures will then began laying up to 10 eggs per day as well. You can see how the problem could escalate quickly. To think that head lice will just die off on their own is absolutely false.
Head Lice are Not Controlled by Hygiene or Home Remedies
Head lice have the unique ability to hold their breath for up to 8 hours. Because of this regular shampooing and water does not have an effect on the head lice. Not to mention that nits are stuck to hair strands with a glue-like secretion that makes them hard to remove. Simply rinsing the hair out or washing the hair out will not eliminate the eggs either. According to MedicoRx home remedies such as trying to suffocate the head lice with mayonnaise are not effective options because of their ability to hold their breath so long. These things simply will not work and the problem will escalate.
Nitpicking can be a grueling process
While nitpicking is an encouraged way to make sure that lice do not return, it is not effective in eliminating a problem initially. For a human to go through every strand of hair and find every nit or louse it is almost impossible to be 100% accurate. Dandruff, skin flakes from dry skin or shampooing residue can leave white flakes that look similar to nits. Therefore, it is difficult sometimes for parents to even identify what the nits are and what are not. Nitpicking is encouraged to determine if you have a problem with head lice. It is not an effective tool to completely defeat head lice at home by yourself.
Here’s How We Can Help
Lice Clinics of Texas take great pride in the fact that we help our customers get rid of their head lice once and for all. Why go through weeks of torment if head lice are just going to return with home remedies or over-the-counter products that don’t work? We offer the latest technology in head lice removal at affordable prices that will be well worth your time and money. Contact our offices today to schedule your appointment with a professional who knows how to help you with your head lice problem.