Head Lice: What You Should Know About These Pesky Little Creatures
Head Lice are parasitic creatures that must feed on human blood in order to live.These parasites are specifically a human parasite and are not found on animals.Lice have been around for a long time.Archaeologists have even found dried up lice and their eggs on the skulls of mummies.
The louse lives solely on human blood and therefore, must live on the head of a human being.The head louse does this by attaching itself among the hairs of a human host, typically at the nape of the neck or behind the ears.
The louse is clear in color when born, and turns a reddish-brown after feeding.The louse is very small (the size of a sesame seed) and wingless, and therefore transports itself by crawling with its six, clawed legs.When in close contact with another human, the louse may transfer hosts, which is why head lice infestations are so common in young children.
While an individual louse can live for only 30 days on a host, and the louse cannot survive if not attached to a host, their real infestation power lies in their ability to breed rapidly.A nit (an egg) is attached by a louse to the side of a hair shaft.
Nits hatch within 7-10 days.7-10 days after hatching, a female louse will be mature enough to mate and hatch her own eggs.In the 30 days of a female's lifespan, she could lay up to 100 nits, who will all, in turn, have the same lifestyle of mating, laying and feeding.
Head lice are spread through direct contact between hair, as they cannot jump.They can also spread by shared use of hair ties, brushes, helmets, hats, towels or pillows if the person without lice uses the infested object before the lice have died.
A person can be checked for head lice by combing through the hair and looking for nits or the lice themselves.If lice are found, there are various methods for washing them away.
Various shampoos can be used on infected person.These shampoos contain chemicals that kill the lice.A louse is not harmed by simply taking a shower because a louse cannot be drowned.
When submerged in water, the louse clings tightly to the hair shaft until dry again.The length of a shower or bath could not be long enough to wash away a louse.The chemicals in shampoos are potentially dangerous for some children, pregnant or nursing mothers, or persons with certain illnesses.
Repeated head checks can ensure the lice are gone.Some natural shampoos are available to break down the exoskeleton of lice and nits.