Lice FAQ

Answers To Common Questions About Lice

Q: What are the symptoms of head lice?
There are many indicators that you or your child may have a head lice infestation. These include a tickling feeling that something is moving around in the hair; itching caused by an allergic reaction to the bits, sores on the head from scratching, small red bit marks on the scalp or a red rash on the back of the neck. If you have any questions regarding head lice facts please feel free to call one of our 3 locations.

Q: What are nits?
Mature louse produce eggs called nits. These eggs are small ovals with a white or cream color. Most nits are about the size of a sesame seed and can be found attached within 1/4 inch from the base of the hair shaft. Nits are most often found behind the ears or on the nape of the neck. Lice attach nits to the hair with a super-strong  glue, making them difficult to remove. Nits will not blow away with a hair dryer or comb/brush out with conventional haircare utensils. The best way to remove nits is with a nit comb- a special device with up to ten times the amount of tines that a normal comb has.

Q: Can lice jump or fly?
Lice are crawling insects. They do not jump, fly, or swim. Lice do not have wings, rather they are a six-legged creature with small hooks at the end of the legs which allow them to latch onto the hair follicles and hold on for dear life. Lice can only transfer from person to person with direct contact, through the sharing of haircare utensils, or through direct contact with clothing, bedding or furniture.

Q: Does using gel in the hair help to prevent head lice?
Unfortunately, gel, hairspray and other haircare products are not likely to prevent the transfer of lice. A daily spritz of mint spray has been shown to be an effective deterrent, though not a guaranteed solution.

Q: Can my pet have head lice?
No pets cannot have head lice. Pediculus Humanus, the correct medical term for head lice, are a human problem. These bugs have specifically evolved to latch onto human hair and feed on our blood. You do not need to treat your household pets when dealing with a head infestation, as these lice are all specific to humans.

Q: Where do head lice come from?
We do not know how or where head lice first popped up, but evidence suggests that we have been dealing with this problem since the dawn of humanity. Evolutionary biologists believe that modern head lice was first a form of chimpanzee lice which, at the time of man’s evolution from chimp to early human, evolved with us. The world’s oldest physical proof of lice is a nit found at a Brazilian archeological site dating back 10,000 years. Egyptian mummies have been found with petrified head lice and eggs, and nit combs have been found in Egyptian tombs.

Q: What is the life cycle of head lice?
Head lice are parasitic animals that can survive for approximately 30 days when attached to a human host. Generally, lice can not survive if they are separated from their human food source for more than 24 hours. A female louse lays 3-5 eggs (nits) per day. These eggs hatch in 7-10 days, and it takes another 7-10 days for the immature nymphs to develop into louse, at which point they can lay their own eggs.

Q: Can African Americans get head lice?
The incidence of head lice infestations in African Americans is significantly lower than that of Caucasians, Hispanics and Asian Americans. Studies by Pediatric Dermatologists suggest that African American school aged children account for less than one-half percent of all reported cases. Though African American children may be less susceptible to infestations, they can, and do get head lice. Head lice in the United States are of a different species than head lice found in Africa, where the lice have evolved to specifically target the thicker hair follicles genetically inherited by African and African American populations.

Q: Can you catch head lice while swimming with an infested person?
Swimming carries no greater risk of transmission than any other activity. In fact, when lice are submerged in water, they latch on firmly to the hair and hold their breath, literally hanging on for dear life. This is why lice often survive shampooing, rain, seawater and swimming pools. Risk of transmission in and around swimming areas generally occurs with the sharing of towels, the piling of over-wear around the pool, sharing of lockers, and direct head to head contact associated with child’s play.

Q. Why shampoos don’t work!
Rid and other lice shampoos only kill adult lice and adolescent newts. These shampoos work by attacking the bug’s central nervous system. Because baby lice or “nymphs” have not yet developed a central nervous system, they can not be killed. In addition, lice shampoos do not kill lice eggs or “nits”. So while you may kill the adult bugs, their eggs will remain, only to hatch a few days later starting the cycle all over again. This is why lice is so hard to eliminate!

Here are some important head lice facts to consider:

Lice shampoos contain toxic chemicals which can enter your system through the skin on your scalp. Many adult lice have become resistant to these chemicals. So in many cases, the shampoos are completely useless.

The only way to guarantee the complete removal of head lice is by hand picking each and every bug and nit. This is exactly the service we provide!

Q. Do I have to clean my house from top to bottom?
Absolutely not!  Lice cannot live off the head for more than 24 hours.  So all those companies that offer to come and clean your homes while delicing your family…  totally unnecessary and a BIG waste of money!