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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Head Lice, But Were Too Itchy To Ask. By Lisa Rafal of Lice Lifters®. What Are Lice?. Human head lice ( Pediculus humanus capitis ) are parasitic wingless insects that make their home on the human head.
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Human head lice (Pediculushumanuscapitis) are parasitic wingless insects that make their home on the human head.
They feed on human blood and lay their eggs (nits) on human hair. The warmth and moisture on our heads provides the perfect environment for them.
When a person has lice, it is referred to as an infestation. The formal medical term is “Pediculosis.”
On the left is a male and on the right is a female louse. Females are larger than males. Lice have 2 body segments and six legs in addition to 2 antennae located at the tops of their heads.
Nits may be found all over the head, but the “hot spots” tend to be the crown, behind the ears, the nape of the neck and in the bangs. Nits are glued securely to the hair shaft. When looking at the hair, if you see something you suspect may be a nit, if you brush at it with your hand and it moves, it is NOT a nit. When removed from the hair, nits are typically a greyish-brown color, but can range in color from cream to dark brown and look like tiny sesame seeds
All of these treatments contain toxic chemicals. With the exception of Natroba and Malathion, they do not kill nits (eggs). Additionally, many of these options are not successful with only one treatment which means that success depends on re-treating and repeatedly exposing your family to applications of toxic substances on the sensitive skin of the scalp.
NO! Lice prefer clean hair. Dirty, oily hair does not offer the best environment in which to lay their eggs. Although lice are survivors and will go anywhere there is a head for them!
NO! While having less fly away hair may make it less likely that lice will get a “leg up” into your child’s head, gel and hairspray alone do not create a deterrent.
NO! Nits, once removed from the hair CANNOT re-attach to another hair on the same head, nor can they attach to another head.
NO! While it’s true that lice don’t prefer the shape of African American hair, ethnicity of ANY kind is not a guarantee of anything.
Head lice infestation causes the loss of tens of millions of school and work days for millions of families across the US every year.
The two largest issues with head lice infestation are
1) Parents feeling ashamed or intimidated and therefore
not reporting cases
2) Inadequate treatment leading to ongoing infestation.
We can all acknowledge that having bugs on our children or ourselves is unpleasant, but how we react to this issue determines how our children and our friends react to it. One of the most important things we can do is work to eliminate the stigma associated with head lice. By eliminating the negative associations people carry with respect to lice, we can increase reporting, more effectively identify outbreaks and help children through this problem without impacting their self esteem.
What are your specific questions about head lice?