Between 6 and 12 million children get head lice each year nationally. And those are only the reported cases. (Source: NY Times June 2015). Naples and Ft. Myers, FL children are not immune. Cases of head lice have been reported in virtually every school in Southwest Florida.
What are head lice: Head lice are tiny six legged blood sucking parasites that can vary in color from grayish white to reddish brown. The adult lice or louse are typically the size of a sesame seed.
Head lice does not discriminate or care if your hair is clean or dirty, the size of your wallet, or what your ethnicity is.
Lice are as common as the common cold. Anyone can get lice!
Lice can only live for a maximum of 24 hour off the human head.
What are nits: Nits are lice eggs glued by the female louse to the hair shaft close to the scalp. They generally hatch between 7 to 10 days. Nits can look like a grain of sand and are extremely hard to see.
Life Cycle Of Lice
Nits are cemented by the female louse to the hair shaft close to the scalp. The nits begin to hatch within 7 to 10 days.
Nymphs are adolescent lice that take approximately 7 to 10 days to reach adulthood.
Louse are adult lice. They can live up to 30 days on a person’s head. Each female louse lays between 7 to 10 nits (eggs) a day.
How do people get lice?: Head lice is transferred by head to head contact with an infected person. Such as at playtime, slumber parties, and sports activities. Lice can also be transferred from person to person by sharing items such as hair brushes and hats.
Symptoms of head lice: Some infestations may show no signs or symptoms, while others may experience itching within 24 to 48 hours. This may account for the high rate of re-infestations among individuals who appear lice free. Other symptoms include:
Rash at the nape of the neck
Low grade fever
Bags under eyes
Inability to sleep
Anemia in severe cases
Is there any dangers from head lice?: Typically no. Head lice themselves are not known to be dangerous, just annoying pests. 50% of the people who get head lice itch as a result of the lice feeding off of the blood from the scalp. This is an allergic reaction to the louse’s saliva.
In moderate to severe cases of head lice, open sores caused by itching can cause a secondary infection, possibly leading to death.
Other dangers can also occur from certain over the counter or prescription remedies that contain deadly and harmful pesticides.
Over the counter an Prescription at home treatments: The over the counter products are losing their fight against lice because studies suggest that most of the bugs in the U.S. have evolved and become resistant to the insecticides found in those products. That includes pyrethrum in shampoos such as Rid and the permethrin crème in rinses such as Nix. Over the counter chemical treatments such as Nix and Rid have become less and less effective over the years as the bugs have evolved and become resistant to them. They are marginal at best at killing lice eggs. Possible side effects include Red, itchy and inflamed skin and Difficulty breathing.
An analysis of EPA data by the center for Public Integrity, however shows that the number of reported human health problems including severe reactions attributed to pyrethrins and pyrethroids increased by 300% over the past decade. A review of the past 10 years shows worth of more than 90,000 adverse reaction reports filed with the EPA by pesticide manufacturers. Pyrethrins and pyrethroids accounted for more than 26% of all fatal, major and moderate incidents in the U.S. (Source: Sue Byrne / consumerreports.org 2014, M.B. Pell and Jim Morris / publicintergrity.org)
Prescription treatments come with a range of risks or side effects and the drugs can be expensive.
Are there any fully effective products?: At this time there is no miracle product. The best choice is to always use safe, pesticide free products.
Where does lice come from?: While no one knows for sure where lice originated, the first reference to lice is one of the 10 plagues in the Bible in the Book Of Exodus, -Exodus 8:16-18.Lice shells were found on mummies once sealed in ancient tombs.President George Washington also mentioned lice when he was 13 in his book Rules Of Civility And Decent Behaviour In Company And Conversation. (Source: Licesolutions.org)
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