How do we get head lice?

Head lice spread through direct head-to-head contact, more exactly hair-to-hair contact between two persons, one of them being already infested with lice.

While it is possible to pick up an abandoned strand of hair with a louse attached, it is suspected that less than 2% of all active cases are actually contracted in this manner. Lice eggs, or nits are of little concern as the cannot reattach themselves to a new head of hair. The majority of abandoned nits are damaged and never reach the stage of hatching, reducing the chances of exposure through this means. Even if they do hatch they require blood immediately or they will starve to death.

Head lice seem to like girls more than boys. Most likely because of their hair mass and longer length offer a more secure breeding ground. Certain people attract lice. Blood type, where the Rh factor is one of the reasons. Head lice have a sharp sense of smell and excellent eyesight. As a matter of fact head lice leave a scent on you, therefore, attracting others. Children are not the only ones who get head lice. If your child has head lice you are at risk. Any individual who has close contact with an infested child, including teachers, relatives and baby-sitters is at risk of getting head lice.

What are head lice?

Head lice are tiny, six legged, blood-sucking parasites. They are wingless insects that spend there entire life on the human scalp and feed exclusively on human blood. The female louse lays eggs by gluing them to the hair shaft. She lays eggs twice a day and can lay as many as five eggs at a time - she can produce some 200 eggs in her lifetime. Eggs, or nits generally hatch in seven to ten days. Newly hatched nymphs take another seven to ten days to reach adulthood. Once hatched they have a life expectancy of approximately 30 days.

Facts of Lice