Lice 101: The Facts of Lice
What are head lice?
The head louse, or Pediculus humanus capitis, is a parasitic insect that can be found on the head and, more rarely, the eyebrows and eyelashes of people. Head lice feed on human blood several times a day and live close to the scalp to maintain their body temperature.
What are the symptoms of head lice?
Detection and Diagnosis of Lice
Head lice and eggs are found almost exclusively on human head hair and the scalp, frequently around and behind the ears and near the neckline at the back of the head. Head lice and eggs are sometimes also found on the eyelashes or eyebrows, but this is uncommon. Misdiagnosis of head lice is common.
The best diagnosis is by finding a live nymph or adult louse on the scalp or hair of a person. Adult and nymphal lice are very small, move quickly, and avoid light, so they may be difficult to find. Using a fine toothed louse comb helps in correctly diagnosing head lice.
How They Spread
These critters move from head to head, hat to head, pillow to head, comb to head…If it’s been on someone’s lice ridden noggin, it could very well be a source of infestation.
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 cannot 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 are so hard to eliminate! In addition, 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.