Lice bugs are parasites. However, they cannot live without their host, humans. Worldwide, there are about 6 to 12 million people with head lice. Unlike mosquitoes that suck our blood, head lice do not carry disease. Though it is not fatal, but having it in our head does not bring us any good. It will only suck blood from your scalp, which can be very irritating. Also, they only live for 30 days. But still, a female head louse can lay about six eggs a day.
The idea that head lice want dirty hair is a myth. If you have, it does not result from poor hygiene. So, whether your hair is clean or not, you can have it in your head. But scratching your head due to itchiness can lead to sores. Bacteria or viruses can go into the wound and bring infection.
So, what causes head lice infestation?
1. Hair-to-hair contact
Moreover, lice bugs stay in our hair and scalp. So, getting in contact with someone’s hair causes the lice to go to another place.
Examples of situations where one can get lice are:
- Kid’s play
- Sports or physical activity
- Camps or overnights
Head lice cannot fly, hop, or jump. This pest does not have wings or legs for jumping, so they crawl with their legs.
People who get super close to each other, especially kids, are more prone to having lice in hair. Therefore, the family of those kids can also pass it to their siblings and parents. Also, teens and adults can also get lice during activities or camps that allow super close contact.
2. Using other’s things
Sometimes, we get comfortable to share our things with others. But sharing personal things increases the chance of spreading. Lice in hair go with things used on the head.
Examples of items include:
- Combs or brushes
- head ribbons
- stuffed animal
3. Having contact with an infested item
Aside from getting lice from personal things, you can also get it from surfaces. Hence, it does not live for a long time without a human host, but it goes with the fallen hair. The good news is that away from the host, it has less than 48 hours to live. Therefore, the only items you’ll have to clean are those that got the contact for that period. For instance, other things where you can get lice bugs are:
- Couches or sofa
- Other furniture
Lice bugs do not live on pets. It is different from the pets’ fleas. Also, it only sucks human blood. You won’t have to worry whether you got it from an animal.
To know if you have head lice, check out for these signs:
- Extreme scratching of the scalp.
- Crawling feeling in the scalp
- Sores from the scratches
- White lice eggs in your hair. Sometimes, dandruff is mistaken for head lice. Both are white and cause an itchy scalp. Take a close look at the strands of the hair. Try crushing the white or whitish brown eggs that you see. Additionally, if you crush a living egg, it will give a ‘pop’ sound.
- It is a sesame seed size of insects with six legs. Brush your hair with a fine-toothed comb. Because of the narrow spaces, there is a chance that lice will go with the comb.
To avoid head lice infestation:
- Avoid hair-to-hair or head-to-head contact.
- Tie your hair to lessen the risk of contact with infested hair.
- Avoid sharing hair accessories and clothing. Consequently, head lice and its eggs are small. You cannot be sure of who has it or has not. The surest way is to stop using other’s things.
- Use a fine-tooth comb to check for possible adult lice in your hair. Young and adult lice blend well with dark-colored hair. Their light body and quick movements make it hard to catch. As you use this comb, you will also prevent further laying of the eggs.
The most common treatments for head lice are by using a fine-tooth comb and shampoo that kills it. By doing the things above, you do not only prevent yourself from getting it. You also stop it from annoying other people. Do not let your peaceful sleep disturbed by these biting lice.