Head Lice: What You Should Know

Head lice are small creatures that belong to insects. They belong to the human lice and therefore also to the animal lice. Head lice are found all over the world. They like it warm and don’t live anywhere except on the hair of people’s heads. Lice are often found in the hair of children’s heads, as they often get very close together, for example when playing.

Head lice have tools on their own heads, like knives. They use it to scratch people’s scalps and suck blood. They have to do this every two to four hours, otherwise, they die after a day at the latest. The person then notices that the scalp is very itchy. When the head louse scratches the scalp to suck blood, it causes swelling on the skin. These are also very itchy. Scratching your skin can result in ulcers and inflammation.

A head louse lives for about a month. A female lays about 150 to 300 eggs during this time. She uses a kind of spit to stick it to her hair, exactly where it grows out of the skin, preferably on her temples, behind her ears, and on her neck. This spit then becomes rock-hard. The eggshell is called a nit. A nymph hatches from the nit after about a week. This then becomes an adult head louse.

A person can pass their head lice on to other people before they realize they have them. Head lice cannot fly or jump. However, they can crawl very quickly and skillfully and thus get from head to head. They can also migrate onto clothing and from there crawl into another human’s hair.

The nits are very small, whitish, and therefore difficult to see, especially in light-colored hair. One can comb one’s hair with a special comb that has very narrow teeth. Or you can look for the nits with a magnifying glass and then pull them off your hair.

In the case of an infestation with head lice, however, only remedies from the pharmacy can help. There are drugs that poison the lice and eggs, and drugs that seal the lice’s respiratory organs so they can’t breathe and suffocate.

Clothes, hats, scarves, but also pajamas, and bedding should be washed hot. Brushes and combs need to be cleaned very well. On the other hand, you do not have to clean upholstered furniture, curtains, carpets, or mattresses. Head lice don’t hide in there.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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