Facts About Lice

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Lice are tiny insects but cause great anxiety and tension among affected families.  There are certain myths about this insect which create problems. It is important for every other individual to know something about lice.

Fact 1 Description

Lice are very tiny insects even smaller than sesame seeds but are menacing creatures that feed on human blood. They have six legs and can move very fast. At birth they have a clear color and within 7 to 10 days they grow into adults and start laying eggs. It is for this reason that once they are seen in someone’s head, they grow to hundreds within a few days. They love to live in warm places and so prefer the areas behind the ears and back of the neck where there is more hair. Once they start feeding on human blood, they become reddish in color. Lice however cannot jump, hop or fly.

Fact 2 How lice spread and symptoms

Lice can spread very easily from one head to another. You can immediately tell by the behavior of a person if he has lice. Continuous itching is the main symptom of the presence of lice in the head. Often children get infected from school and it is very important for parents to send their kids to school only when the lice have been killed altogether. The eggs of the lice are called knits and they stick to the base of the hair strands by a cement-like substance and are difficult to remove. Lice are not a disease but it is an annoying insect that sucks blood and irritates the head where it lives.

Lice spread through the eggs or nits that fall off from one’s head. Head lice are the deadliest and once they hatch they require blood to feed on and they are said to feed every few hours. Hence it is a harmful insect and must be cleaned off immediately. Direct head contact, family members having lice or overnight guests and friends who carry lice are responsible for spreading them. They can also come from helmets and hats although it is not very common, but using same combs, hair-brushes, pillows and sheets can contaminate a person.

Fact 3 Kinds of Lice

There are three different kinds of lice that live on humans namely

  1. Head lice commonly infest the head and thrive mostly in dense areas of the hair like the back or beside the ears.
  2. Public lice also known as crabs are found in public places and are seen on facial hair (beard) eyelashes, eyebrows, chest hair and also in armpits.
  3. Body lice lay eggs in the seams of clothing and live there but are found on the body when they feed of blood of the person.

The symptom of all kinds of lice is mainly itching. Too much of scratching leads to skin infection and in severe cases of head lice, hair falls off leaving a black scar in the areas infested by lice.

Fact 4 How to get rid of lice

The best way to get rid of lice is to cut off hair completely so that even the stubborn nits can be removed properly. Strong measures are required to become lice-free. Apart from cutting the hair, there are over-the-counter lotions, creams and shampoo for treating lice. Repeated use of these lotions properly helps in getting rid of this menacing insect.

It is important to wash all clothes, and bedding in hot water. Specially-made fine combs are used to brush out lice from the hair strands.

Steroid creams and calamine lotions are used to relieve the itching and burning sensation even after they are cleared away. It is very important to treat lice as soon as the symptoms appear.

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