Facts of lice

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What are head lice?
Why are they such a problem?
Where can head lice be found?
How does someone get head lice?
How can you detect if someone has head lice?
Do I need to treat everyone in the house?
Should I notify my child's school?
What is the difference between eggs and nits?
Where are eggs found?
What do the eggs look like?
How long do the eggs take to hatch?
Do head lice prefer clean or dirty hair?
Do they prefer girls or boys?
How many eggs does a female head louse lay?
How long do head lice live?
How many head lice are usually found on an infested person?
Can head lice jump or fly?
Do head lice spread diseases?
Can head lice survive on pets?
Who is most likely to get head lice?
Do head lice bite?


WHAT ARE HEAD LICE?
Lice are small, wingless, greyish-white insects (they turn a darker grey after they have fed on blood) with flattened, elongated bodies with oval heads. They are about 2-3 mm and live on the scalp.
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WHY ARE THEY SUCH A PROBLEM?
Every civilization in human history has tried to get rid of head lice. But they're still here. That's because head lice are very, very good at what they do - and because most treatments prove ineffective at removing an entire infestation (head lice, nits AND 'live' eggs) quickly and easily. As in the movie 'Alien', if you don't get rid of the eggs, you end up right back where you started. That's why the Nitty Gritty NitFree Comb really is such a huge breakthrough - because it's the only way to get the whole job done.
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WHERE CAN HEAD LICE BE FOUND?
Head lice spend their lifespan in our hair, clinging tightly onto it as soon as they emerge from their eggs. They tend to stay very close to our scalps in order to feed directly from our blood. They often lay their eggs near the temples, behind the ears or at the nape of the neck where it is nice and warm.
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HOW DOES SOMEONE GET HEAD LICE?
Head lice are very good at moving from one host to another during head-to-head contact. When your hair is touching someone else's, even for a few moments, there is an opportunity for head lice to migrate. This is why they are so prevalent amongst primary school children.
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HOW CAN YOU DETECT IF SOMEONE HAS HEAD LICE?
Sometimes there is no sign of infestation until nits Ė the hatched empty egg cases - start to become visible as they grow out in the hair, often these little white specks in the hair are the first thing that parents notice. Once the lice have hatched they will start feeding on the scalp, which can cause itching, so if you see a child itching their scalp this is often a telltale sign that they have live lice in their hair. BUT itís important to knowÖ not everyone itches. So itís important to carry out weekly visual check for nits, eggs and head lice. The best time to do this is when you wash and condition the hair, because in dry hair live lice will move rapidly away from the area being examined making it much more difficult to spot anything live. Detection will be easiest with conditioner on the hair, as this will immobilise the lice. Section the hair and gently touching the Nitty Gritty NitFree Comb to the scalp glide the comb from the scalp down to the tip of the hair. After each stroke check the teeth of the comb for live lice. Fully grown head lice are about the size of a small ant, but newly hatched eggs can be as small as a pinhead. If you are inspecting on dry hair make sure you do so in good light - by a window or under a desk lamp is ideal. Also look for eggs glued to the roots of the hair very close to the scalp.
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DO I NEED TO TREAT EVERYONE IN THE HOUSE?
Other than primary school aged children you do not need to routinely check all members of the household unless you have reason to suspect they have been in contact with someone with head lice. If you do find any signs of head lice, eggs or nits on your child we always recommend that you check every member of the household, as well as other close family members who are regular visitors, such as grandparents - Remember, not everyone itches when head lice are present. Then use the Nitty Gritty NitFree Comb with either hair conditioner or our Nitty Gritty Aromatherapy Head Lice Solution to remove head lice, nits and 'live' eggs from anyone who shows signs of being infested.
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SHOULD I NOTIFY MY CHILD'S SCHOOL?
If you havenít already been notified by your childís school about a head lice case in the class then we do recommend that you let them that know that you have found and treated head lice on your child and ask them to notify all parents of that class so that they can check and treat their own children.
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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EGGS AND NITS?
'Live' head louse eggs are each glued to an individual hair strand as soon as they are laid. Nits are the empty egg cases, which remain glued in place on the hair as it grows out after the lice have hatched. Usually found slightly further away from the scalp. Nits are often the first visible sign of a head lice infestation.
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WHERE ARE EGGS FOUND?
Female head lice attach each egg to the root of an individual hair strand, very close to the scalp, so that when they hatch out, they are very close to their food source. They like to lay their eggs near the temples, behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. Any eggs found more than about 1/2Ē from the scalp will be the nits (the empty egg cases), which remain glued to the hairshaft and grow out as our hair grows.
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WHAT DO THE EGGS LOOK LIKE?
They are small (about the size of a pin head), white to cream in colour and they look like a tiny, tiny teardrop securely fastened to the hair shaft.
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HOW LONG DO THE EGGS TAKE TO HATCH?
Eggs take approximately one week to hatch but can be anything from 7-13 days.
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DO HEAD LICE PREFER CLEAN OR DIRTY HAIR?
No, head lice have no preference for clean or dirty hair. They are tough, resourceful little creatures. You can't wash them out, and there is no scientific evidence to indicate that either washing or not washing the hair will do anything to prevent an infestation.
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DO THEY PREFER GIRLS OR BOYS?
Head lice have absolutely no preference for boys or girls. But school-age girls do tend to have more hair than boys and more head-to-head contact, which makes it easy for the lice to spread from one head to another, this is why we often find they are most common amongst girls. They then tend to pass them onto their other family members when they have head-to-head contact.
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HOW MANY EGGS DOES A FEMALE HEAD LOUSE LAY?
A female head louse produces about four to six eggs per day. This quickly adds up to 50-150 when they go undetected. Which is why itís important to do weekly checks..
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HOW LONG DO HEAD LICE LIVE?
Head lice typically live for about 25 -35 days. They can only survive for around 24 hours once removed from a human head, though.
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HOW MANY HEAD LICE ARE USUALLY FOUND ON AN INFESTED PERSON?
Head lice go on laying eggs when any infestation is left untreated and each head louse can lay up to 150 eggs in their life cycle. Not everyone itches, and there is sometimes no visible sign of infestation until the nits (empty egg cases) grow out in the hair, so there can be hundreds of head lice on one person's head during a prolonged infestation. However, the average number of lice found on an infested person is around 30.
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CAN HEAD LICE JUMP OR FLY?
No. They don't fly, jump, hop or skip. But they do move very swiftly from one human head to another during everyday head-to-head contact.
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DO HEAD LICE SPREAD DISEASES?
No. Their presence can aggravate some existing conditions, but they don't communicate or carry any diseases.
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CAN HEAD LICE SURVIVE ON PETS?
No. Head lice only live on humans, moving directly from one person to another during head-to-head contact.
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WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO GET HEAD LICE?
Anyone who has hair on their head and doesn't live entirely alone on a desert island is likely to become infested at some point. School-age children spend time in large groups, with lots of head-to-head contact, so they are very likely to become infested.
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DO HEAD LICE BITE?
Technically speaking head lice don't actually bite. They attach to the scalp and use needle-like feeding tubes to suck blood. This is painless, but their saliva and faeces can sometimes cause an itching allergic reaction. Scratching can lead to broken and inflamed skin.
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Do remember...
Head lice are annoying, but they are not dangerous. Don't ever let them make you or your children unhappy. With our wonderful Nitty Gritty NitFree Comb they are easily treatable, without any pain or drama.
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