My child has nits, but I don’t see any bugs. How can that be?
After emerging from their egg as a nymph, lice only live another 25-30 days. It is possible that your child has the nits of a louse that has already died, or one that has moved on to another head. However, if you have nits, you have to have had adult bugs at some point. Also, adult lice will avoid light and move closer to the scalp and out of sight during a head check. It is very easy to miss the bugs, even with combing.
How do people get head lice?
Lice are generally transmitted by head to head contact. Remember, head lice do not jump or fly, so an adult louse can only crawl from one hair to another. Children ages 3-12 are more susceptible to head lice because of their close contact during play and interaction. Girls get head lice far more often than boys, and women more often than men, because of the close nature of their interactions with each other.
Sharing personal items such as combs, brushes and hair accessories, or towels, hats and clothing can also spread lice. It is also possible to contract lice by lying on a pillow, bed, couch, chair, carpet, or anywhere else that was recently used by an infested person.
Can lice be contracted from plants or pets?
No. You cannot get lice from plants or pets. Lice are a human parasite, which means that humans are the only host on which lice can survive. Head lice cannot live on animals, pets, or plants.
Where are children most commonly exposed to head lice?
Head lice are spread through head to head contact, so they may be contracted anywhere that close interactions occur. Schools are often blamed as breeding grounds for lice, but head lice are no more common in schools than anywhere else. Children are equally likely to come in contact with lice outside school; at camp, sleepovers, sports activities, movie theatre, birthday parties, daycares, etc.
Should I be concerned about the rest of the family?
The Lice Fairy recommends head checks for the entire family. Furthermore, in order to control the spread of head lice, it is also important to inform anyone who has been in close contact with the infested person during the previous two weeks including classmates, teammates, and friends. Ideally, all infested individuals should be treated at the same time.
Are children with long hair more prone to infestation?
The short answer here is ‘no’. Since head lice concentrate themselves as close to the scalp as possible, having long hair does not provide any better of an environment for them in which to live. That being said, long hair is more likely to hang over and come in contact with an infested friend’s head. For that reason alone, long hair may be more prone to getting head lice. It is recommended that long hair be tied back in a braid, bun, or ponytail, especially when there is a known outbreak of head lice. The Lice Fairy also has preventative hair care products available for purchase to help repel head lice.
How common is head lice infection?
Head lice are a very common condition, especially among children ages 3-12. It is estimated that as many as 100 million people worldwide get head lice each year. In Canada, approximately 1 in 10 children contract lice each year.
Who is at risk?
Kids are not the only ones who can get head lice. Any person with hair on their head is vulnerable. While preschool and elementary school children, and their families, are infested most often, anyone who comes in close contact with someone who has head lice is at risk. Children ages 3-12 are more susceptible to head lice because of their close contact during play and interaction. Girls get head lice far more often than boys, and women more often than men, because of the close nature of their interactions with each other. Personal hygiene and cleanliness in the home or school have nothing to do with getting head lice.
Do head lice prefer one head to another?
Although the reasons are not entirely clear, head lice are attracted to some people more than others. Blood type and RH factor may be a variable.