Head Lice Frequently Asked Questions
Where do head lice come from?
Head lice do not come out of the air or from the ground. Lice are human parasites that have existed for as long as history itself. Dried up head lice and their eggs have been found on the hair and scalps of Egyptian mummies.
Do Head Lice Jump?
NO! Head lice do not have hind legs to hop or jump. They also do not have wings and cannot fly.
What is a life cycle of the head louse?
One head louse can survive on a human host for approximately 30 days. They generally cannot survive longer than 72 hours off the host. A female louse lays 4–6 eggs a day. The eggs hatch in 4–9 days and it takes about 14 days for the female louse to mature. She mates 24hrs later and starts laying eggs.
What is the difference between an egg and a nit?
There is no difference though a nit is usually referred to as the empty shell and the egg as a viable egg. Sometimes people refer to one or the other in relation to its viability.
How can I tell if the nits are dead or alive?
Children, like adults, do not want nits in their hair — dead or alive. The time it would take to make the distinction is time far better spent removing ALL the nits. Some people will “pop” them and confirm its viability. Just because there is a louse inside does not confirm the fact that is was alive.
How do other people get head lice?
Direct contact is the most common way and through personal items such as hats, towels, brushes, helmets, hair ties, pillows, a headrest, or other similar items.
Do pets get head lice?
Head lice cannot be transmitted to or from pets. They are human parasites and require human blood only.
Can head lice be caught by swimming?
When lice are in water, they go into a state of suspended animation but remain firmly locked onto the hair. This is how they survive shampooing, rain, seawater, and swimming pools. Risk of transmission will occur with the sharing of towels.
Do head lice carry diseases?
DNA technology shows head lice to be the same species as the notorious body louse which has long been associated with diseases such as typhus and relapsing fever. It may be possible for head lice to carry diseases, but no cases have been reported.
Should I treat everyone in the house?
Check everyone in the home with a nit removal comb or by hand. By checking the entire home, you can have an accurate view on the problem. Do not use products as a “just in case” precaution.
What do I do with furniture?
They are not environmental pests so pesticide sprays for furniture and bedding are unnecessary. Vacuuming is the safest and best way to remove lice or fallen hairs with attached nits from upholstered furniture, rugs, stuffed animals and cars.
Should I bag stuffed animals and bedding?
Bag the items or isolate the items that cannot be washed for 3 days to starve and kill all lice that may have landed on them. All other washables and bed linens can be put in the washer and dryer for the lice to be washed away or killed during the cycle. Wash all items in HOT water and machine dried on HOT cycle. Wash only items that cover the bed and pillows cases, not underlying covers, pillows, underlying padding.
What about combs, Brushes, and Hair accessories?
You can place them on the top rack of the dishwasher or soak items in HOT water for 20 minutes (do not boil brushes). You can also put them in a plastic bag in the freezer for 24 hours.