Q & A's
Frequently Asked Questions
What are head lice?
Head lice (plural for louse) are microscopic 2-4 mm insects that live among human hair and feed on small amounts of blood from the human scalp. Contrary to popular belief, they do not have wings, therefore, they don’t fly. After they bite, they make the scalp itch and can also become infected. They may not jump or fly, but they do crawl. Female head lice lay their eggs (nits) on the hair shaft about 1/4-inch away from the scalp, although they can be found anywhere on the head. The nit holds on tight and is very difficult to remove, so if you should find a nit farther away from the scalp (farther than ¼ inch away) it could be that the egg has hatched and what you are seeing is the abandoned egg sack farther down the hair shaft because of hair growth.
Lice can survive up to 3 – 4 weeks. They can lay approximately 10 eggs a day. An egg takes 7-12 days to hatch. A nymph is a baby louse. A nymph takes 9-12 days to mature into an adult louse. Only adults can lay eggs. The dark brown eggs are the newly laid eggs. Nymphs are transparent, except for a dark center. They are particularly difficult to spot and are flush on the scalp. Special tools are needed to remove them. Head lice are common in children ages 3 – 11. They are highly contagious and spread very quickly. Therefore, it is important to treat and remove them instantly and effectively.
(Please be sure to see “Life Cycle of a Louse”).
How do people get head lice?
“Head-to-head contact with an already infested person is the most common way to get head lice. Head-to-head contact is common during play at school, at home, and elsewhere (sports activities, playground, slumber parties, camp).” (Quote from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Even though they spread mainly through head to head contact, the sharing of combs, brushes, bed linens, towels, hats and other personal items can also pass them along as well. Preschool and school age children are most likely to catch lice because they tend to have close physical contact with each other. Parents and siblings are just as likely to catch lice because we are so closely involved with our children, so we often treat the entire family at one time. The CDC also states that, “Dogs, cats, and other pets do not play a role in the spread of head lice.”
What exactly are nits?
According to the Centers of Disease Control & Prevention, “Nits are lice eggs laid by the adult female head louse at the base of the hair shaft nearest the scalp. Nits are firmly attached to the hair shaft and are oval-shaped and very small (about the size of a knot in thread) and hard to see. Nits often appear yellow or white although live nits sometimes appear to be the same color as the hair of the infested person. Nits are often confused with dandruff, scabs, or hair spray droplets. Head lice nits usually take about 8-9 days to hatch”. They are very difficult to see with the naked eye and a magnifier can be very helpful.
What are the symptoms of head lice?
- Red bite marks on scalp
- Tickling sensation or the feeling that something is moving in your hair
- Sores caused by scratching which may become infected
How do I know if my child really has head lice?
To really see head lice, you need to look very closely. Using a bright light and a magnifying glass, part the hair into four sections. You will be looking for live lice (looking close to the scalp) and nits, or eggs, about ¼ inch from the scalp. Look the entire head over this way. Look very closely around the ears and the top of the neck area. If you are in doubt, please see a health care provider or call us for a head check.
What if I find lice?
If you find head lice you need to begin treatment quickly. Since head lice reproduce at such a swift pace, you’ll need to get busy to gain control of the situation! By not treating, or not treating promptly enough, you’re giving head lice the time they need to continue to develop and multiply. Many people that we have worked with are under the impression that one shampoo does it all. Please don’t make that mistake. The right products and constant combing are essential to rid your family of this problem so that you can resume your normal life. Contact us for immediate assistance. (Please see “Other Helpful Links” for more information.)
Will our family be 100% clear of head lice from the first treatment?
It is our objective to be the most highly effective form of treatment for you. But, even the most trained eye can miss a nit. All it takes is one nit and a few days to begin the infestation all over again. Our treatment service and coaching our clients, combined with our 2 week “homework” routine, will provide you with the assurance that your head lice infestation has ended. But make no mistake, your eagle eye, routine combing and always inspecting for lice eggs are of the utmost importance.
Other Helpful Links
The following links are full of helpful information. (Remember: knowledge is power!)