Head Lice Removal Treatment Frequently Asked Questions
Head lice, or louse, are parasites that can infest the head, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Lice attach their eggs to hair shafts near the scalp and lay five to six eggs a day. Hatched eggshells (nits) may be confused with dandruff.
Lice never willingly leave the head; they stay close to the scalp for food, shelter, warmth, and moisture. They are most often found behind the ears and at the back of the neck.
The mature louse is the size of a sesame seed and has six legs and hook-like claws that grasp the strand of hair tightly, making it difficult to dislodge. It feeds on the host’s blood every three to six hours, which can cause scalp itching, though most cases are asymptomatic.
The diagnosis of lice infestation can be made definitively only if live lice are present. If you think you or a loved one may be infested with head lice, schedule a professional screening.
Lice are contagious and usually require direct head-to-head contact in order to spread. It is very unlikely for lice to survive off the head. Incidental spread through contact with personal belongings of an infested person such as combs, brushes, or hats is much less likely but may occur rarely.
Lice cannot hop, jump, or fly – they crawl, and they do not thrive on pets. New infestations, in nearly all cases, occur by immediate head contact with an affected individual.
The most important things to do are to minimize the possibility of head-to-head contact, and if someone in your family has lice, advise all members of the household, close acquaintances, classmates, and teammates to get screened as soon as possible.
Head lice infestation is most prevalent with school-aged children and their household members and caretakers. Getting head lice is not related to the cleanliness of people or their environment. They affect children from all schools.
Head lice are not known to transmit disease; however, secondary bacterial infection of the skin resulting from scratching can occur with any lice infestation.