Head Lice


Nits and Lice  

Nits and lice, or headlice, are actually referred to as Pediculosis (or Pediculus humanuscapitis). Nits and lice have been around for many of centuries scurryingfrom scalp to scalp and are prevalent right the way round the world.

Head lice are highly infectious and an individual is more likely to pick up nits and lice inhighly populated areas – hence the “back to school” head liceepidemics. Head lice do not much care whether hair is clean or dirty,however some do say that the head lice can hold onto cleaner hair as itis not so oily – or in the world of nits and lice – slippery.

You can only contract nits through direct human contact. This contact can come from hugs, sharing hair ties, brushes and caps. Head lice crawlexceptionally fast and have a firm grip on the hair once in contact,the transfer can happen in an instant. Prevention is always going to bethe best cure. Check your children’s hair for nits and lice regularlyand be mindful to tie long hair into a braid especially when your childis off to school. There are head lice preventionpractices and products that can help to defend against outbreaks suchas an everyday spray to keep those nasty nits and lice at bay.

Theinitial stage of nits and lice starts from nits or the eggs from whichthe nymphs hatch. Each nit has a cap-like structure and is firmlyattached to the hair shaft. Nymphs appear from fertile nits through thiscap after about a week. After these nymphs go through three stages ofmoulting, they become adult lice. Once a mate is found, the male liceand female lice mate frequently any time of the day.

Anextraordinary scenario: As the female louse can lay between 50 to 150eggs in her lifetime, 60% of these nits are fertile. This means that ifyou were to have ten pairs of fertile lice successfully reproducing,with each female having a 60% success rate in terms of their nits, itwould mean that one female louse can successfully produce 90 nymphseach. Multiply this by ten and you've got nine hundred nits. Using aconservative 75% survival rate for nymphs, you will have 675 adult liceby the end of the moulting period. At which point, these 675 adult licewill pair off. If 45% of these lice are female, and they havesuccessfully mated with a male louse, it means that around 304 femalelice will produce 45,600 new nits. This could potentially produce anentire colony which is truly astonishing.