You may be familiar with head lice, or you may have had the unfortunate experience of hosting them in your hair for a period of time, but do you understand how they live and function in relation to humans and other animals? Questions like, “what do lice eat” or “what can I use to kill lice” come to mind whenever we have the misfortune to encounter them, and there are many common myths circulating the web and social circles that provide misleading information, or only partial answers. In this article, we will discuss some of the basics of head lice and what you can do to avoid or eliminate them.
What Are Head Lice?
Head lice are very small, parasitic insects that require a living host to provide them a suitable environment in order to survive, feed, and reproduce. They dwell in the hair and scalps of humans, as well as animals with fur or feathers, and they feed on the blood of their host several times a day by penetrating the surface of the scalp. Contrary to popular belief, head lice do not jump or fly, and they cannot survive on other surfaces for very long. In order to spread to a new host, they crawl along the hair follicles and make their way down to the scalp and lay their eggs in tiny little sacs called nits. These nits are attached to the base of the hair follicle, close to the scalp, making them very difficult to detect with the naked eye, and lice can lay these eggs up to eight times a day.
Common Head Lice Myths
As mentioned earlier, there are many common myths in circulation regarding head lice. To name a few, here is a short list of myths accompanied by the facts:
Head lice can jump onto surfaces and other people’s heads. This is not true. Head lice do not have the ability to jump, fly, slide, or free-fall from the head of the current host. They get around simply by crawling up and down the hair follicles and spread through head-to-head contact. While they can make their way onto surfaces such as pillows, hats, and furniture it is not as common as you’d think. Without a living host, head lice would only survive for a couple of hours, so it is not in their nature to behave this way frequently. Therefore, lice are only spread through head-to-head contact.
You can get rid of head lice with home remedies. You may have heard or read about popular home remedies for killing head lice such as excessive combing, blow-drying, using harsh chemicals, or spreading mayonnaise through your hair. Your heart may be in the right place, but unfortunately none of these tricks will eliminate the problem. While mayonnaise can smother the lice, and blow dryers can roast them alive, neither will have any effect on the eggs. So while you diligently exterminate each creepy-crawler on the scalp, those eggs will hatch shortly after and you will be back to square one.
Head lice can spread disease. There are many parasitic creatures in the world, and some species of louse that have been known to spread disease, such as ticks. However, this specific breed that we know as “head lice”, Pediculus humanus capitis, are not on that list. So you can rest easy knowing that even though they are a huge annoyance and can be difficult to get rid of, there is no cause for concern in regards to your health and safety.
Book An Appointment With Lice Clinics of America Today!
Head lice can be a hassle to deal with. If you or someone you know is currently dealing with head lice, it is important to get checked and treated as quickly as possible. Here at Lice Clinics of America, we offer a chemical-free head lice treatment that guarantees a lice-free scalp in just one hour. If you are in need of a lice clinic in Anderson, Greenville, or Spartanburg, South Carolina, please visit our website and schedule your first appointment today.