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Head lice, not as bad as it seems

Updated on January 20, 2013

Introduction

Your son or daughter comes home from school and has a note with him stating that reads that she has head lice. Your immediate reaction is to go to the pharmacy for a medicine and once at home to wash all the sheets and clean the house to ensure that the head lice quickly dissapears from hair and the house.

Head lice spreading and its solution

The (head) lice as an animal

Lice are parasites that survive by sucking tiny droplets of blood from your head. For each lice that happens about 5-6 times in his life. Lice remain (on someone’s head) alive up to 30 days, but when not on a head lice only live a day or two. Per 24 hours lice lay about 5-6 eggs (called nits). These eggs when laid on a head, will hatch after a week, while those not laid on a head will not hatch at all. Hatched eggs / nits can lay eggs themselves after ten days.

How are head lice spread?

Most people think that lice can easily jump or spread from person to person by touch or clothing, etc. The lice would in this way spread everywhere, such as in sheets and carpet and could then infect others with head lice. This is not true though, as you can read in the description above. Head lice need a head (skin) in order to stay alive, and they cannot jump and barely walk. The transfer of lice can therefore only can happen through hair-against-hair contact. It also makes little sense to clean and disinfect the whole house immediately when someone has head lice.

What do you do against head lice?

If lice are found, you can go to the pharmacy to get a medicine to wash your hair with and there is a small comb included. With this comb you should comb your hair well for the coming two weeks. Combing your hair well on a daily base according to the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment is the only effective way to remove lice and to avoid them.

Did you know ..

  • Head lice has nothing to do with bad (head / hair) hygiene. On the contrary, lice actually have a preference to clean and freshly-washed hair.
  • You can become a so-called "lice mother" at primary schools. You then help a primary school to regularly check children for head lice. A good idea if you would like to get to know the classmates of your son or daughter, or perhaps some other moms.

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