Head lice are tiny, contagious insects that live in human hair. They feed on the blood in the scalp and lay eggs known as nits. These lice are highly contagious and can spread to the rest of a household. Children from preschool and elementary school age are most susceptible to getting these insects, but anyone of any age can contract them.
Adult head lice are around one-eighth of an inch long, about the size of a sesame seed. They can live for about 30 days on a human head. Female head lice are larger than males, and they lay approximately eight eggs per day. They are most visible on hair that is dark in color. Symptoms of head lice can include itchiness and scratching. The lice will stay close to the scalp for feeding and will feed every three to six hours. They also secrete saliva.
Head lice spread by direct head-to-head contact, but they can also be spread by sharing clothes and personal items. Lice can also live on furniture and carpets, but the chances of getting infested by a louse on a carpet or furniture is extremely slim. However, it is still best to keep your head and hair clean and lice-free.
Preventing lice is the best way to protect yourself and your children. First, you should make sure to clean your children’s hairbrushes and personal items with hot water, and always remember to change your child’s hat after every use. Similarly, it is also important to clean the carpets, furniture, and beds. Do not use fumigant sprays on children; these chemicals may cause toxicity and can make the condition worse.