imagesWhere does head lice come from? It is believed that head lice have been around since the beginning of time, dating all the way back to the Egyptians. These parasites do not come from the dirt, through the air, or in the water. They are born and bred through other head lice. The blood sucking parasites do not come from animals and do not live anywhere on the human body other than the head. It is estimated by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) that six to twelve million people contract head lice each year.

What is a Louse? a louse is the singular version for lice (plural) known as Pediculus humanus capitis or Pediculosis capitis, which is an infestation with head lice.

There are 3 stages of head lice: An adult louse, a nymph, and a nit. An adult louse is about the size of a grain of rice.

What is a nymph? A nymph is a baby. The adult female louse lays nits and once those hatch, you have a nymph. It takes 2 weeks for a nymph to get adult size and start laying nits.

What is a nit? A nit is the egg that the female louse lay in the hair. They lay nits 2 times per day, 4 or 5 at a time, so each adult female louse is laying 8-10 nits per day in the hair. You can imagine how fast it can develop into a full blown lice infestation in just a short period of time.lice-life-cycle

How do I know if a nit is viable? A viable nit will have a gray or black line inside the shell (that is the bug), if the nit is clear or white, chances are it is an empty shell. To be absolutely certain, you should look under a microscope. They are most commonly laid close to the scalp or within a couple inches of it, where it is warm. Nits found further down the hair shaft, have more than likely been combed, brushed, or flat ironed there. If the temperatures are warm enough, a nit can still hatch, although it’s not likely.

Is head lice spread through poor hygiene? No, in fact it is the opposite. Head lice prefer clean hair because it helps them move better, but no one is immune from getting head lice.

How is head lice spread? Head lice is spread primarily through head to head contact, such as sleepovers. They can also be spread through camps, sports, and sharing brushes, combs, hats, or anything else used in the hair. This is why we recommend notifying everyone you have recently had contact with, once head lice is confirmed, so they can check for head lice as well.

Can head lice carry disease? Head lice do not carry any disease. They are just a nuisance.

When head lice transfers, how long before I can tell they have it? Lice often transfer in small groups of 7 or 8 and if they are fertilized females, they can begin laying nits immediately. Head Lice have blood types. They can feed on any blood type, but once they begin feeding on a certain type, they need that same type to survive. For example, If a Louse transfers from one head to another with a different blood type, that Louse can lay nits in the hair, but once she consumes the different blood type, her intestinal tract will explode. The nits will still hatch in 7-10 days and that blood type becomes their blood type. This person now has an active case of head lice.  Another reason head lice can get out of control pretty quickly. If you know your child has been exposed to head lice, we recommend you check immediately before they have time to multiply.

Can head lice jump or fly onto my child’s head? No, head lice can only crawl with their claw-like hands, positioned on the upper part of the their body. They do not jump or fly and they can’t move very quickly off the head.

How long do head lice live? They cycle of head lice is approximately 32 days. They cannot survive off the head for longer than 48 hours. A nit on the other hand, cannot hatch off the head, they need the warmth of the scalp for incubation.

Is there a lice season? There is no lice season. We see just as many clients in the summer time with camps, sports, and sleepovers as we do during the school year. In general, when children are more active, participating in activities with other children, it becomes more common. This is the time of year you should check for head lice once a week as a preventative.images (5)

What should I do with my house, once I find head lice? The main concern should be treating lice on the head. They cannot live longer than 48 hours off the head, so your house can not become infested. You should vacuum. wash bedding and dry on high heat from 40 min and bag stuffed animals for 48 hours. You should also boil hair accessories or put them in the dishwasher set on the heated dry.

Aren’t head lice treatment centers expensive? Do they really work? Many times, going to a professional will actually save you money. Over the counter products are no longer effective and can get expensive, especially when treating the whole family. Head Lice Treatment Centers are trained and certified in lice removal and have experience in treating head lice on a daily basis, they will do the best job.  You will want to call first and set up an appointment though, most treatments take approximately 90 min. I recommend you get a price before you go, so you know exactly what it will cost up front, and make sure they guarantee their work. This is  for your own peace of mind, so you can be confident that you and your family will be head lice free.

If you have any further questions or concerns regarding head lice checking, preventing or treating, please call us. We are the only licensed salon in Kansas City that is trained and certified in head lice removal. We use all natural, safe and effective head lice products. we charge flat rates for all our services, and all treatments come with a 30-day guarantee. If you are battling head lice, we can help you.  At Combers KC, we are available 24 hours a day: (913) 451-2662 or visit our website: www.comberskc.com

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