What are Head Lice?
Head Lice, or Pediculus humanus capitis, are the most common form of all three species of Lice that infest humans. They are dependant upon a human host for survival, feeding 4-6 times per day. Head Lice are attracted by warmth and odor and they will die in approximately 48 hours without a blood meal. Head Lice do not jump or fly from one person to another; nor can an individual contract Head Lice from an animal such as their pets.
A Head Louse is transmitted by coming into direct contact with the wingless parasitic insect. They use their claw like legs to attach themselves to a hair shaft to pull themselves along at a rate of 12 inches per hour.
Infestations are common, found worldwide and affecting between 6-20 million people every year. Lice do not discriminate based on wealth or cleanliness. They affect all races; however, they are more prevalent in Caucasians in the United States due to the round shape of their hair shaft. There is a species of Head Lice in Africa that mainly affects individuals of African descent.
The reason that this species of lice favor the African descent is due to the oval shaping of their hair’s cross sections. In the United States, African Americans are reported to have much lower incidences of Head Lice than Caucasians, Hispanics or Asian Americans. Pediatric Dermatology cites various studies that suggest the incidence of Head Lice among African American school children is less than half of one percent. While the incidence among their non-black schoolmates is usually more than 10 percent. The length of ones hair does not determine if a person is going to get Lice or not; however it will require an aggressive, yet easy to use Head Lice treatment.
While it was previously thought that the Head Louse is not capable of transmitting disease, new studies are showing that the Head Louse is closely related to the Body Louse.
This is very significant evidence; the Body Louse has long been associated with the transmission of typhus and trench fever. Therefore, the idea of the Head Louse being a potential vector for diseases cannot be underestimated.
How are Head Lice transmitted?
Lice are transmitted from person to person by close personal and prolonged contact. It is also possible to acquire a Head Lice infestation via contact with inanimate objects, such as contaminated items of clothing, hats, bedding, towels, grooming utensils, hair ornaments and upholstered furniture. Head Lice outbreaks are more common among school age children. Girls tend to contract this condition more often than boys because they like to play “dress up,” play in each others hair and have sleepovers.
Transmission also occurs when individuals are sharing a common bed, whether an intimate relationship is present or not. Infestations may also be common in families, dormitories, nursing homes, hospitals and other institutions. In any situation, a good proven Head Lice treatment is required.
It’s a misconception that Head Lice infestations are due to the lack of cleanliness. An interesting fact about Lice is the Head Louse actually prefers clean hair and scalp. In the presence of soiled hair and scalp the Louse cannot adequately apply the nit to the hair shaft; it is for that reason it is important to have a proven highly effective Head Lice treatment.
Questions? Access a very In-Depth FAQ source for Head Lice
Risk Factors that may lead to Head Lice infestations:
- Close prolonged contact with infested individuals
- Contact with contaminated objects: clothing, hats, combs, brushes etc.
- School aged children; female school age children are at a higher risk
- Facilities such as dormitories, nursing homes, hospitals etc
- Extremely clean hair and scalp
What are the Symptoms of Head Lice?
The general symptoms of a Head Lice infestation are intense itching and scratching on the scalp, back of neck and behind the ears. Sometimes a presence of a red rash can accompany the infested area. The red rash is caused by a reaction and irritation to the saliva of the Lice. It is sometimes possible for an individual to be infested for a while before they become aware of the itching and irritation. Overall, it is usually easy to detect and treat head lice. Most people can feel a crawling sensation and see nits attached to the hair shaft. People also report seeing Louse droppings; these look like a fine black powder on sheets and pillows.
- Intense itching on scalp area, back of neck and behind ears
- Scratching in the areas previously mentioned
- Rash on or near the infested area
- Presence of nits on shafts of hair
- Presence of Lice insects
What is the life cycle of Head Lice?
There are three stages that complete the life cycle of Head Lice; they are the nit, nymph and the adult.
Nit: Nits are the eggs of the Lice. They are attached with glue like substance on the hair shaft close to the scalp. This is done because it needs the warmth that it receives from a human to incubate. They are covered with a waxy film to protect the growing larva. Additionally, nits are equipped with ventilation slit at the top of the egg to provide air. These nits are small oval cylinders approximately 1/16th of an inch in length. They can be a variety of colors ranging from a light, whitish color to a dark brown. Once hatched, it becomes transparent. It usually takes 7-10 days for the larva to mature and hatch. When they are ready to hatch, the immature Louse starts swallowing air and expelling it rectally; this causes an air bubble within the nit that pushes them out of the casing. Nits can survive 4-10 days off of a human host.
Nymph: Upon hatching the baby Louse is considered a nymph. The nymph looks similar to an adult Head Louse but smaller. After hatching, the Louse needs a blood meal within 45 minutes in order to survive. A young Louse will molt three times before it reaches sexual maturity. This process takes 7-12 days.
Adult: The adult Louse is approximately 2 millimeters long, with six legs that are designed to cling to hair shafts. The Head Louse and Body Louse almost identical; however, the Head Louse is smaller in comparison. Head Lice are dependent upon a daily blood meal for survival. If they are dislodged from their host, they will die in about 48 to 55 hours at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The adult Head Louse is bluish-gray to whitish or brown in color. They are round to oval in shape and are longer than they are wide. The female is the larger of the two sexes. The female Louse will look for a male Louse to inseminate her eggs. During her lifetime, a female may lay up to 100 eggs at a rate of 6-7 nits per day. Of those nits, only the ones that have been fertilized will hatch.
Head Lice generally live for three to six weeks, depending on temperature and humidity.
Sponsored Informational Link:
Natural Head Lice Treatments preferred over Traditional Toxic & Deadly Lice Treatments
Traditional Head Lice treatments continue to contain deadly pesticides harmful to children and adults. We wonder why something that can be so deadly is still commonly being sold in our local pharmacies and grocery stores. There obviously was a need to develop a formula safe for children and adults without any deadly, toxic ingredients or pesticides. DermaTechRx™ Research Center took on that challenge and dedicated most of its resources on a safe non-toxic treatment for Head Lice. Read on for more information.
Pyrethrum and Lindane are used as the primary active ingredient in most over the counter Head Lice products. Both of these ingredients are labeled with CAUTION, and Lindane has been banned in several states because of its high toxicity. Both of these toxic ingredients are responsible for death, neurological problems, asthmatic breathing, nasal stuffiness, headaches, nausea, loss of coordination, tremors, convulsions, facial flushing and swelling, burning and itching.
The most severe poisonings have been reported in infants and small children, who are not able to efficiently break down these pesticides. Even worse is that doctors continue to prescribe these toxic treatments even though they are only about 30% effective. The Head Lice might have built up a resistance against these pesticides over the last several decades and that is why Pyrethrum and Lindane are no longer effective for treating Head Lice.
Your Easy 1-Step Treatment to a Painless Head Lice & Nit Removal,
Pain Free, Safe Salon Tested & Perfected Formula!
If you’ve tried other treatments and still intensively seek a safe, fast, easy Complete Head Lice Solution, then seek no further. AllStop™ brand of products that kills the lice in seconds without harmful or toxic ingredients. Visit AllStop’s website for brand information or the All Stop News page for more in-depth information on Head Lice. After several years perfecting the formulation, we wanted to make sure it worked quickly, safely, and strong enough to treat the most severe outbreaks of Head Lice; we feel that we accomplished that goal by offering the most effective Head Lice treatment. And for those that don’t have time to read, we also provide videos packed with important information on Head Lice and available treatments.
More Information on Head Lice Infestations and Treatments:
- what is the life expectancy of lice
- other lice news – body lice and pubic lice
- listerine and lice – pubic lice
- fever caused by lice – Relapsing fever
- how to treat horse for lice – is it mange instead?
- easiest way to get rid of Head Lice – Head Lice treatment