10 Things You Should Know About Head Lice

10 Things You Should Know About Head Lice

When lice start a big alarm is created at home. However, lice, although they feed on blood, are not dangerous. They only cause itching. Even so, we do not want to have them but to fight them you have to know them. Here’s what you should know:

1. Infest only in schools

Do not let your guard down! When does school end the nightmare of lice? Many of you will already know the answer because you have suffered at home but for those who do not know … the answer is NO. In fact, during both spring and summer, the increasing damp heat causes the infestation to continue during summer schools, oratories, swimming pools … Places where children share clothing and heads approach in more than one Occasion among several children during the activities they perform. We must learn to fight head lice (Pediculus, humanus,capitis), which are capable of multiplying and propagating rapidly.

These parasites (organisms that live “dependent” on other organisms) are gray and about 2-4 mm, have six very small legs. In fact they are so small that they are not able to jump like fleas to go from one head to another. Then we’ll see how they do it…

2.Life cycle

The life of these lice is short, from 3 to 4 weeks at the most, and it develops in three phases: eggs (nits), nymphs (immature form of the louse), adult lice (able to reproduce).

The eggs are anchored to the root of the hair with natural “glue”, are opalescent, measure about 1 mm long and have an elongated shape. They deposit in 24 or 48 hours after mating.

The nymph feeds on blood and needs to eat 2 to 5 times a day. It takes 7 to 10 days to reach sexual maturity. At this point in the cycle, when a female encounters a male they mate and the cycle starts again.

3. How are they born and nourished?

To be born, the larva swallows air and expels it through the rectum. With this technique the lice are inflated, the breathing orifice expands and the small larva is pushed out. He has 24 hours to eat because otherwise he dies.

This parasite feeds on the blood of people it picks up from small holes it makes on the skin of the guest’s head.

A female can put eggs twice a day and every time puts from 4 to 5. That is to say that in one day you can put 8 or 10 nits. These mature and hatch in just seven days (a week) at an ideal temperature of 32 ° C.

If you think that normally there is not a single female but 10 to 2, multiply and you will understand because this infestation evolves so fast. For example, 10 fertile females lay 70 eggs in a week…

10 Things You Should Know About Head Lice4. Where they adhere.

Throughout life, a female louse can deposit about 200-300 eggs. Each of them is wrapped with a waxy material that protects the larva during ripening. This wrap has a hole in the end so you can breathe (that’s why there are products that act by “drowning” the lice). They deposit in the hair near the scalp, preferably behind the ears and at the base of the neck, and hook them there with a substance that allows the egg to withstand normal washing.

5. How they move.

Lice do not fly, nor can they jump. Its locomotion system is based on 6 legs, each of which ends with a claw with which cling to the hair. This claw allows them to move both forward and back at a speed of 30 cm per minute. With it they separate the strands of our hair, which makes them go from one to another. In addition we could consider them like “true magicians or illusionists” because they are able to mimic acquiring the color of the skin of the host. They are lighter or darker depending on the color of the skin of the person who has them.

6. Why do they choose the head?

The species of lice capitis only live on human hair, and pets do not represent any source of transmission for humans, nor do they pass from humans to animals. It is in the heads of people who find their ideal habitat with ideal food, temperature and humidity.

The irrigation of our hair, the temperature of about 32-35 ° C and the humidity is what they need to be able to live. It is also very easy to spread from one head to the other. They only need two heads to be joined directly or indirectly, head-to-head or by sharing combs, towels, pillow cases…

Most infestations occur in children 4 to 14 years of age, with a higher preference for girls. In fact, according to statistics, they suffer twice as many infestations as children.

7. First symptoms.

If head lice are present the first thing you feel is an itch, especially on the neck and behind the ears.  This is usually due to an allergic reaction that almost all children have to the saliva of the parasite.

Crusts may also appear on the neck. Even the lymph nodes behind the ears and neck sometimes dilate.

The most obvious is the presence of lice are the eggs in the hair shaft. Sometimes they may look like bits of dandruff, but just blow on the hair to see what they are. Dandruff falls, the lice egg does not.

8. How many there are.

For this answer I do not have good news … lice are on the rise throughout the world due, above all, to the birth of forms resistant to current treatments.

If we consider that a single person can lodge ten lice up to a few hundred we can get an idea of ​​the magnitude of the problem.

According to the Health Self-Care Association (ANEPF), head lice that affect Spanish schools could be said to affect between 5 and 10% of pupils. The most affected are the smallest one to six years in a row who are between seven and twelve years old. In less proportion we find ages between 13 and 18 years.

9. How to fight lice.

Head lice cannot be prevented but you can fight back in time before the situation gets worse.

So washing the hair with “preventive” products does not help, nor does it cut the hair or tie it with a tail. The most effective is to make frequent checks. Keep in mind that if we catch them at the beginning of the infestation we can intercept them with a fine tooth comb, with spikes separated from each other a distance that exceeds 0.3 mm.

If lice are detected, the hair should be sprayed with an anti-lice lotion and allowed to act as directed by the manufacturer (usually 15 to 20 minutes). And pass the comb fine (strand) tuft by tuft, at least twice, from the root to the tips. The lice will be wrapped in this lotion and the nits are captured with the comb, which should be rinsed after each pass through the hair with warm water and vinegar (reduces the adhesion of the eggs to the hair), in 50% solution.

With careful control once or twice a week is sufficient to prevent the spread of the infestation.

10. How to exterminate them.

With lots of patience.  It would even be useful to inspect the head with the help of a magnifying glass, if necessary.

In case of serious infestations (late warning), a specific treatment should be used following the instructions carefully, especially in the time of exposure of the product that varies according to the product and according to the manufacturer. It is advisable to repeat the treatment with a few days of separation to eliminate the parasites that resisted the “first attack” of our fight to combat them.

It is also important that the treatment can kill the eggs but does not remove them. That is why we must soak the hair with a solution of water and vinegar to 50% and pass it tuft by strand with the comb even after using lotions and shampoos.

You also have to think of anything that might be in contact with your head. Personal belongings such as combs, brushes, headbands, scarves, hats, towels, pillows, bedding, etc. They have to be washed at 60 degrees and can be left in the open for 48 hours.

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