Head lice can be a frustrating problem for many families across the United States. While they are most commonly found in children, adults can also be affected. It’s good to know that having lice doesn’t mean someone is dirty or unclean. Anyone can get them, regardless of their hygiene habits. These tiny insects can be a nuisance but don’t cause serious health issues. Still, it is essential to address the problem promptly to prevent further spread and discomfort. In this article, we will tell you about these tiny creatures and how to deal with them effectively. So, if you or someone you know is dealing with this issue, keep reading to find out more.
What Is Head Lice?
Head lice are tiny, wingless insects scientifically known as Pediculus humanus capitis. They live on the human scalp, where they feed on small amounts of blood. Lice have six legs with hook-like claws that help them grip onto hair strands, making them difficult to remove. They are usually light brown or grayish, and they can be hard to see because of their small size and ability to move quickly. Lice lay eggs, called nits, which attach to the hair close to the scalp. These nits can be of different colors, like yellow, brown, or tan. The color of the nits can help you know their age or if they have hatched.
There are three kinds of nits:
- Empty nits: These are nits that have already hatched. They are usually white or clear and can be found farther from the scalp.
- Dead nits: They didn’t hatch because they weren’t alive or healthy. They can be brown or tan and are found close to the scalp.
- Live nits: These are healthy nits that haven’t hatched yet. They are usually yellow or brown and are found very close to the scalp.
What Causes Head Lice?
Head lice happen when tiny insects find their way onto a person’s scalp. They usually spread from one person to another through close contact. This can happen when people touch their heads together, like during playtime, hugging, or when taking a selfie. Sharing personal items, such as hats, hairbrushes, or headphones, can also cause head lice to move from one person’s hair to another. It’s important to remember that head lice don’t mean someone is dirty, as they can happen to anyone, no matter how clean they are. A head lice infestation, also known as pediculosis, is more common among children aged 3 to 11 years old, mainly because they tend to have closer head-to-head contact during play. Continue reading on the next page and discover how you can recognize head lice and most important: how you get rid of them.