Head Lice – Identification

[music playing] This time of year, kids are
packing up all their summer gear and heading back to school. And one concern that parents
often have and sometimes will send them running in fear
is the fear of head lice. And head lice are something
that are a little but tricky because they are insects. They have six legs but
they do not have wings. They don’t jump. They only can crawl. So head lice are blood feeders. They have to have a
blood meal in order to complete their life cycle. That sounds really creepy
to a lot of people. So to get that blood meal, they
have to get it from the scalp and the scalp just provides
a really nice environment. So there’s lots of moisture
and warm temperature for them to be able to complete
their life cycle. And to be even more creepy, head
lice complete their entire life cycle living on the human. So you won’t find them
in the environment. You won’t find them
in the wild anywhere. You won’t find them on your
pet or on a horse or at a farm. They’re only found on humans. So they have to be transmitted
from human to human. The most common way that
children get head lice are from head to head contact. So many times, the
children will play and just in their play, their heads
come in close contact with each other. The lice have little claws. Their feet are equipped
with claws that can hold onto a hair shaft. So they’re able
to let go and then grab again so that’s
the way they distribute. A lot of times, it
goes through a family. So you’ll have siblings
that will each get infested and then you’ll
have cousins that come over to spend the night. And so then, it moves
through the family cycle and those cousins and siblings
are in different classrooms at school. And so then, it moves
through a classroom or moves through a daycare center. So usually, if there’s one
child that has head lice, it quickly moves from
one child to another strictly because of the
head to head contact. And humans will react to
the saliva in the head louse as it’s feeding so
it causes itchiness. And so parents or
teachers will see children that are scratching
their head more often than they should be and many
times, you can actually see a redness or an
irritation behind the ears or at the nape of the neck. So that’s one indication. Another is finding the eggs
glued to the hair shaft and those are called “nits.” So a female will
live about 30 days and every day for about the
last 20 days of her life, she can lay three to
five eggs in a day. And those eggs are glued onto
the hair shaft very close to the scalp. So parents have to worry not
only about the live adult lice but also about those eggs that
are being laid on the hairs. So when parents want to treat,
one of the best treatment strategies is to
comb out those nits and to comb out those lice. And the nits, like
I said, they’re cemented onto the hair shaft–
very difficult to remove. So sometimes, it’s
a good idea to have a pair of safety scissors
and actually cut out a few of those hairs. If you catch it early enough,
there’ll only be a few nits. So you can just cut out those
hairs and dispose of them and when the hair is
not on the human body, it’s not likely that that louse
is going to be able to survive after hatching. For more information
about head lice, visit Solutions For Your Life.

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