Head Lice Infestation- An Overview


Head lice are tiny insects that live on the head. They lay eggs (called nits) close to the scalp. Head lice do not spread disease, and having head lice does not mean that you are not clean. Head lice are very common among children. Scratching the head can be a sign of head lice, but you can have head lice without any itching.

Head lice spread through direct contact among children (head-tohead), or indirectly on items such as hats, combs, hairbrushes, headbands, helmets, and toques. Head lice  do not jump, fly, or hop, but they crawl very quickly.They cannot live on pets or other animals. They  can live off the head for up to 3 days, but their eggs, the nits, need a warm environment to develop—nits are not likely to hatch at room temperature

The  live head lice, called climbers, and the lice eggs, called nits. Adult lice are 2 to 4 mm long, or about the size of a sesame seed. Lice move quickly and can be difficult to see, so it’s more likely that you’ll see nits.  Nits are shaped like tiny teardrops and have a brownish white colour. They are about the size of a poppy seed. They are stuck firmly to individual hairs and will not move unless you pull them from the hair with your fingernails or a nit comb

Start behind the ears and check the entire head, hair by hair. Check all hair from roots to tips. An easy way to find live lice is to use conditioner and a lice comb. White conditioner makes it easier to see lice.

 • Apply conditioner to dry hair, soaking the hair from the scalp to ends of the hair.

 • Remove tangles from the hair using a regular comb.

 • Immediately comb with a lice comb. Pick a place to start. Be sure you comb through all hair over the whole head.

• Place the lice comb against the scalp and pull it to the end of the hair.

• After each pull through the hair, check the teeth of the comb for lice. Wipe the conditioner off the comb onto a paper tissue and look for lice again. Place used tissues in a plastic bag.

• Repeat the combing for every part of the head at least 5 times

• If you find live lice, you have a confirmed case that should be treated.

 • If you find only nits and they are close to the scalp, you have a probable case of head lice. If your child has not been treated within the last month, you should treat for headlice now.

• Check everyone else in the household for lice, even if they do not feel itchy.

• Treat everyone in the household who has lice on the same day

Head lice treatment  Public Health Services recommends using treatments with the following ingredients: – permethrin, found in products such as Nix or Kwellada-P OR – pyrethrins with piperonyl butoxide, found in products such as R&C, Pronto, Equate, or Licetrol Other products may be available, but some do not have the ingredients that Public Health recommends to kill head lice. Please check for the above ingredients.

 • lice comb, a special fine-tooth comb available at any drug store

• regular comb

• clean towel

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Anabell Rose

Editorial Assistant

Hair Therapy & Transplantation