OUR QUESTION AND ANSWER BLOG HAS A FEW OF THE MOST FREQUENLTY ASKED QUESTIONS FROM CLIENTS. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HEAD LICE OR TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT FOR LICE REMOVAL IN THE BROWARD, MIAMI or PALM BEACH AREAS, PLEASE CONTACT US 954.200.2029
1. Can Head lice jump or fly?
No, as you can see in this photo, they don’t have wings or back legs. This is good news because it also means that they cannot burrow into or under anything; especially your bedding or furniture. They are primarily lying on surfaces, often caught up in fibers or fabrics of clothing or furniture. They have claws at the ends of their front legs and cannot grab onto anything very well except for a few strands of hair at a time.
2. Can you get lice from being outdoors?
Pediculus humanus capitis, also known as head lice, have no other known habitat than the human head. They will feed on a host every 3-4 hours. They can only survive for about 24 hours without blood after falling off of the host. They cannot survive on any other areas of the body but the head and cannot be contracted from animals to humans or vice versa. The earliest findings of head lice were fossilized lice found on mummies in ancient Egyptian tombs dated 2000 BC, as well as findings from ancient Greece. Even Cleopatra was known to have her very own lice comb made of solid gold.
3. How do people get head lice?
Lice is very much like the common cold in the sense that it is passed around by human contact only. Because the louse (singular for lice) does not have the ability to jump or fly, you have to have direct head to head contact with someone who currently has lice. Most experts agree that it only takes 10 seconds of head to head contact to transfer head lice since a louse can travel up to 23 cm per minute. You can also contract lice from someone if you are sharing items that touch the head, such as a hat, hoodie, brush, helmet, pillow etc.
For an interesting article regarding the 10 second rule and selfies, please click the attached link:
4. Why don’t the over the counter products work as well anymore?
Unfortunately, these products have been in use for over 30 years now and the formula has not changed. The louse has acquired a resistance to the main ingredient pyrethrin, a harsh chemical that does nothing to the louse eggs and in some areas is no longer effective against the louse itself. This is why manual, all natural lice removal is still the safest and best way to be lice free in the shortest timeframe.
For a more detailed explanation of what is now being described as Super Lice found in Texas, California and Florida, please click on the attached links:
5. Why do you need to do a retreatment a week after the initial lice treatment?
Regardless if you are treating yourself, going to a clinic or hiring a company to do the lice removal for you; you still need to follow the life cycle of the louse to ensure that you have broken that cycle. A quick and simple recheck is sufficient except in cases of lengthy infestations (3 weeks or longer) where a full retreatment is recommended.
6. What is the life cycle of the louse?
When you first contract lice from someone else, at least one (if not more) fertilized females have made thier way onto your head. Females will lay between 3-8 eggs per day. In 7-10 days, those eggs will hatch and those hatchlings (called nymphs) after molting 3 times, will reach adulthood within another week; at which time, they will begin laying their own eggs. One female louse will lay about 200 eggs in her lifetime and she can live for about 30 days on average. Approximately 75% of her eggs will be viable. Mathematically it is easy to see how infestations occur after you start to get into your 2nd week or longer. Needless to say, without treatment, head lice will never just go away on its own.
7. Where do they lay the eggs?
The nits (eggs) are brown, oval and glued onto the hair shaft by the female. She will lay them very close to the scalp (about 1/4 of an inch from scalp) all over the head but more so in warm moist spots such as behind the ears, at the neckline or on the crown of the head. You are the incubator for the nits; the heat from your head is what helps the nits to hatch. They need a consistent 86 degrees or higher to hatch. You can not catch lice from a nit that has fallen off of the head, since it is no longer viable due to temperature change.
8. Can I kill off my lice if I dye or straight iron my hair or by going swimming?
You will certainly keep your numbers down because you may kill off the live lice but you will never truly be lice free. The nit is laid within a quarter of an inch to your scalp and hair dye will not penetrate the egg, so they will simply keep hatching. As far as swimming is concerned, the head louse is waterproof for up to 2 hours or more. Water will stun it and cause it to latch onto the hair shaft tighter while closing up the holes on their sides which they use to breathe. Many clients will comment that they receive some temporary relief after showering because of this, but unfortunately once they dry off, they will simply start biting and colonizing again. Manual lice removal of all nits is the only way to break the life cycle.
9. What age groups get lice?
While lice do not discriminate against race, age, or status; they are predominately found on elementary school age children (3-11) simply because they play so closely together and haven’t really attained personal space at such a young age, in addition to inadvertently sharing items such as hats and brushes.
For updates on the latest school policies regarding head lice, please click on the link below:
10. What are the symptoms of head lice?
Persistent itching is the number one sign that you may have head lice, especially at night when lice are most active. You may also have a rash, mainly from scratching, at the base of the neck or behind the ears. A louse is a lot like a mosquito, biting the head only. It is the bug saliva in the bite of both of these insects that creates the itching. Just as you may still feel itchy for a few days from a mosquito bite long after you have killed it or it has flown off; you may also still feel itchy from a louse bite for a few days even after the louse has been removed from your head. Please note, in a Florida University study, it was found that only 50% of the population is actually allergic to the bug saliva and will feel persistent itching. This is why it is highly recommended to continue to be diligent and do regular head checks on your child throughout the school year. Doing head checks outdoors in natural light is best as the sunlight reflects off of the translucent shell of the nit.