Lice are unpleasant, but they are a standard part of childhood. Even adults can have them. They easily get attached to anyone’s head no matter whether the hair is clean or dirty. Though, they are an absolute nuisance, they don’t account for any severe health conditions and are not disease-carriers.
What do lice look like?
These are tiny parasites, visible to naked eyes. They are wingless, and they live in human hair. They are contagious and annoying, yet harmless. These parasites essentially need other living bodies for survival. For the living, they feed on blood extracted from one’s scalps.
- They have six legs.
- They appear in tan or greyish-white color. They can camouflage, and so they appear in lighter or darker shades to match your hair color.
- They are not airborne and can’t survive in water. Therefore, when you bathe, they cling to the strands of your hair to survive.
The lifecycle of a tiny parasite comprises three stages.
- Eggs or Nits: Lice itself is a small creature. Ever wondered what do nits look like?! They look like tiny brown, tan or yellow dots before they hatch. The parasites lay eggs preferably on hair shaft adjacent to the scalp.
- Nymphs: Nymphs are nothing but baby lice that hatch from nits. They go through several stages of growth before turning into an adult louse.
- Adult head bug: They are 2-3 mm long, approximately the size of a sesame seed. They can crawl and lay nits, followed by reproduction.
Types of Lice:
An infestation of the parasite can occur in your body, hair, and genitalia. Based on that, they can be classified into three types as follows.
- Head louse (Pediculus humanus Capitis): These are ones that are found to be attached to your hair stands close to the scalp.
- Body louse (Pediculus Humanus Corporis): They live, reproduce, and lay eggs in your clothing and bedding. To feed on your blood, they move to your skin many times a day. They bite neck, armpits, groin, and waist – where your clothing closure most probably touches the skin. This kind of parasite is more prevalent in unhygienic living conditions.
- Crab louse (Pthirus pubis): They infest the genital area. You can find them on pubic hairs and can be easily transmitted to other persons through sexual contact. They are usually smaller in size than the other two types and can be rarely found in armpit hair, eyelashes, and facial hair.
How do you get lice?
Have you ever imagined how can tiny creatures spread surprisingly fast without wings or any magical powers?
- Direct contact: A direct connection with lice-affected persons can get you lice from their heads. Kids, while playing together, hug each other. Their heads come together, making it feasible for the obligate parasite to move across their heads. Also sleeping alongside an infested person too can get you the most undesirable head bugs.
- Indirect Contact: They can also spread when you indirectly come in contact with personal things used by the affected person. Sharing hats, helmets, scarves, coat racks, and even lockers can dock head bug. Sharing brush and comb also can get you parasites.
Most of the signs and symptoms are noticeable right away. Have a look at the common symptoms of head bug infestation.
- Scratching of head
- Presence of sores on the head
- Too much of itchiness on the scalp
- Abnormal irritation or bumps on the scalp
- Disturbed sleep. They are nocturnal in habitat and are the most troublesome at night.
- OTC liquids, lotions, and shampoos collectively known as pediculicides contain medicines that are found to be effective in head lice removal.
- Pyrethrins are the best baby shampoo that efficiently kills bugs by attacking its nervous system. It is an excellent choice for kids aged 2 years and above.
- Permethrin lotion is also an indispensable product for lice treatment.
- Malathion, Benzyl alcohol lotion, and lindane shampoo are other medications that are generally prescribed by the doctor. You can get and use them from your nearest pharmaceuticals.
- Never share hair clips, combs, hair accessories, scarves, cap, towels, and earbuds with anyone.
- As far as possible, avoid head to head contact. Tie your hair and apply some spray to make it stay intact while playing with a lot of children.
- You can use essential oils along with lice treatment shampoos for extra protection. Mix a few drops of essential oil with water and spray them over your personal belongings to avert parasites.
- These little parasites and their eggs can survive on upholstery furniture for two days. So avoid sitting over them for a more extended period.
As soon as you observe any of the above-said symptoms, comb your hair thoroughly, and look for head bugs and nits under a bright light. Carry out the head lice treatment at once!
How to treat head lice?
Over the counter treatment:
A mild infestation can be treated at home with OTC medications.
Apply shampoos and lotions over the hair and scalp, gently massage and leave it as such for 10 minutes before rinsing off. Gently comb your wet hair to see deadhead bugs withering.
How to get rid of lice eggs? Most of the head bug shampoos kill not only lice but also nits. After washing your hair with shampoos, you should brush your hair with a specially made nit comb to ward off dead lice eggs. This is the best nit treatment in practice.
A severe infestation needs the intervention of doctors.
How to prevent lice:
Check out the following tips to avoid parasite infestation.
Getting rid of lice is not a nightmare. Proper medications and home care can put you away from highly undesirable parasites and nits! You are most welcome to share your experience with annoying tiny creatures and nits here!