When Did Head Lice Start?

The origins of head lice are not entirely clear. Scientists have determined that lice may have first appeared on humans approximately 100,000 years ago, when human lice were still a relatively new species. The earliest evidence suggests that human lice originated from chimpanzees, which are said to pick lice eggs off other humans. Apparently, this behavior evolved into two distinct types of lice – human lice and body lice.

There are several ways to acquire head lice. One method is through head-to-head contact, and other methods include contact with inanimate objects. However, the most common way to contract head lice is through contact with another human being. If this method of transmission is not successful, the lice may transfer to a different person.

Once head lice have bitten a person, the eggs will lay on the hair shaft. They are tiny at first, but become visible by the second or third day. The eggs are brown or tan in color and attach to one side of the hair shaft. The female head louse will lay up to 100 eggs during her lifetime.

While the early days of the 20th century saw lice control efforts aimed at killing lice and their eggs, the problem remained. Today, lice are once again invading the average American environment. Lice are easily transmitted from one person to another, and children are particularly susceptible to these infestations. This is due to the fact that schoolchildren often share articles.

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