HEAD LICE FACTS
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LICE
According to the CDC 6 to 12 million children in the US are infested with head lice each year.
Very often parents contract head lice from their children.
There are many types of lice, the head louse, or Pediculus humanus capitis, is a parasitic insect that can be found on the head and, more rarely, the eyebrows and eyelashes of people.
There are three stages of the lice life cycle: egg, nymph and adult.
Head lice have six claws designed for them to crawl from hair strand to hair strand. These claws allow them to move from head to head.
HEAD TO HEAD
A head-lice infestation occurs when a female adult louse moves to a new head and lays eggs. When those eggs hatch, the lice will most likely stay on that head throughout the entire lice life cycle. Unless the head is treated and all lice and lice eggs are killed, the lice infestation will continue for however long the lice can live.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What Are Super Lice?
Super Lice are lice that have developed resistance to pesticides used for killing them. This term to describe the nuisance bugs was used by the media in 2015 after published research revealed that strains of head lice had developed resistance to pyrethroids, or the type of pesticide used in over-the-counter (OTC) lice treatments.
Expanded research published in 2016 showed that lice samples from 48 states carried the pesticide-resistant genes. So chances are, if you or your child are infested with head lice, those lice will be resistant to OTC products.
Our lice specialist will look for evidence of lice eggs or Super Lice during a Head Lice Screening; schedule an appointment today at one of our convenient, kid-friendly lice treatment center locations, Hamilton Township or Marlton.
Do I Have Lice? Do I Have Super Lice?
Identifying Head Lice:
Adult lice will be the easiest to spot because they are the biggest. But at the size of a sesame seed, they still aren’t that big. Although lice vary in color, if you see a grayish-white or tan bug crawling through the hair, it is probably a louse. If you look closely at an adult louse, you should be able to see human blood inside it.
Look at the hair strands about a quarter inch (~0.5 cm) off the scalp. See if you can find lice eggs (often called nits) attached to individual hairs. Nits are extremely small. They look like tiny specks and will be glued pretty securely to the hair. If you see any, try pulling them off with your fingers. If you can’t easily pull them off, they are probably lice eggs and not dandruff.
If you are unsure, schedule an appointment at a lice treatment center near you for a Head Lice Screening.
If you have been using over-the-counter lice treatments with no success, you could likely have Super Lice. Schedule an appointment at our Hamilton Township or Marlton clinic for professional lice removal service using our FDA-cleared AirAllé® treatment with over 99% efficacy and a 30-day service re-treatment policy.
How Do People Get Lice?
The primary way head lice is spread is when your head comes in direct contact with the head of an infested individual. Head-to-head contact like that doesn’t guarantee that the infestation will spread, but it gives lice the best opportunity to move from the hair of the infested person to your hair.
Head lice don’t jump, swim or fly. Without strands of hair to grab with the claws on their legs, they have trouble getting around at all. However, they can crawl pretty quickly along the hair, so if your hair comes in contact with an infested head, it doesn’t take much for a louse to hitch a ride on a strand of your hair and make its way to your scalp.
If you suspect you have head lice, contact our Marlton or Hamilton Township clinic to schedule an appointment for Head Lice Screening; if a case of head lice is confirmed, the clinician will work with you to decide the best treatment plan for you and your budget.
How Long Can Lice Live?
Excluding the 8-9 days they spend as eggs, head lice can live for around 40-45 days on your head. As parasites, they feed on human blood several times a day.
If they are removed from their food source – say from getting knocked out of your hair with a brush or your hand – they can survive 24-48 hours. If they don’t find some human hair to crawl back to a new host during that time, they will die.
Do not try to “wait out” head lice; while head lice only live for a short time, an adult female louse will lay about five eggs each day, beginning the cycle all over!
How Can I Kill Lice or Super Lice?
In a previous blog post, we learned that hair dye will NOT kill lice. The ways to kill lice include suffocation, poisoning, drying them out (or desiccation) and starvation. The safest and most effective method is desiccation, which is exactly what our FDA-cleared AirAllé® medical device does. Learn more about our lice removal service and book an appointment at our convenient Hamilton Township and Marlton locations.
Who Should Get The AirAllé Lice Treatment?
Lice treatment using the AirAllé device at our Marlton and Hamilton Township clinics is intended to kill or remove head lice, Super Lice and lice eggs in the hair of adults and children 4 years of age and older. For children under 4, we recommend a traditional comb-out.
Does The AirAllé Lice Treatment Really Work?
Yes! Because it is an FDA-cleared device, we can’t make up efficacy claims that aren’t backed up by clinical data.
Check out these reviews from previous clients who received treatment at our Marlton and Hamilton Township locations.
What Should I Do After Head Lice Treatment?
Head lice do not survive long if they fall off a person and cannot feed. You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money on housecleaning activities. Follow these steps to help avoid re–infestation by lice that have recently fallen off the hair or crawled onto clothing or furniture.
- Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that the infested person wore or used during the 2 days before treatment using the hot water (130°F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry–cleaned OR sealed in a plastic bag and stored for 3 days.
- Soak combs and brushes in hot water (at least 130°F) for 5–10 minutes.
- Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay. However, the risk of getting infested by a louse that has fallen onto a rug or carpet or furniture is very small. Head lice survive less than 1–2 days if they fall off a person and cannot feed; nits cannot hatch and usually die within a week if they are not kept at the same temperature as that found close to the human scalp. Spending much time and money on housecleaning activities is not necessary to avoid re-infestation by lice or nits that may have fallen off the head or crawled onto furniture or clothing.
- Do not use fumigant sprays; they can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
See a comparison chart of super lice treatment solutions that have been clinically tested.
Our lice treatment center offers treatment options for all infestation levels and budgets.