Q & A

Head Lice

Those who find themselves facing their first lice infestation, whether they are moms, dads, teachers, camp counselors and even the famous, always have a lot of questions about lice. For answers to some of a victim’s most common questions, you’ve come to the right place.


All about lice…

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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.


All about detecting lice…

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What are the symptoms of head lice?

The most common symptom of head lice is an itchy scalp. If you notice your child itching more frequently than normal, you should check for head lice.

How do I know if my child has head lice?

Upon inspection of your child’s head, look for nits behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. They will be located within a quarter inch from the scalp. Unlike dandruff or residue from hair products, nits cannot be brushed or flicked off and are even difficult to manually pull out of the hair. You can also look for live nymph and adult bugs that will be in the hair close to the scalp. They are tricky to find as they usually blend in with the hair color. If you are still unsure whether or not your child has lice, you can always contact us for a head check.

Can head lice live on any other part of the body?

No. There are other types of lice that are human parasites, and they are closely related to head lice. These include body and pubic lice. However, a head louse, or Pediculus humanus capitis, can only live on the head. For more information on other types of lice, please visit an outside source.

Why do head lice prefer the nape of the neck and behind the ears?

Head lice like to be as safe and warm as possible. Hair is the thickest on our heads behind the ears and at the nape of the neck, and therefore the warmest.

My child has lice but how do I know if I have it too?

While it is certainly more difficult to identify lice on your own head, it can be done. Look for nits around your ears. Also, part your hair and look closely at your scalp, especially around your hairline. You may even be able to spot a live bug if you look carefully. You can also look for small sores and skin irritation that results from an allergic reaction to their bites, as well as your own scratching. If you are still unsure about whether or not you have head lice, you can always contact us for a head check.

What if I find head lice?

If head lice are found then it needs immediate attention. The reproduction of head lice is an ongoing cycle. Every day that is allowed to go by is another day for the female to lay her eggs. More eggs result in more lice, which means more eggs. Removing head lice is a difficult process and very time consuming. It is well worth taking care of the problem now than let a full on infestation take place. Contact us for assistance.

Do head lice cause health problems?

Head lice themselves are merely a nuisance and do not directly cause any health problems. However, small sores and skin irritation can occur due to an allergic reaction to their bites, and more often can occur due to scratching. It is then possible for a secondary infection to occur.


All about getting rid of lice…

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How is head lice treated?

Head lice have commonly been treated with over-the-counter shampoos that contain pesticides. If these treatments don’t work, your doctor may prescribe a pill called Ivermectin. However, these over-the-counter shampoos are very dangerous and ineffective, The Lice Fairy does not use these shampoos, but rather uses 100% safe and natural products in conjunction with manual lice and nit removal techniques.

What products do you recommend for getting rid of lice?

The Lice Fairy uses 100% safe and natural products. For more information, please visit our products page.

What’s wrong with using over-the-counter lice shampoos?

Many over-the-counter treatments and prescriptions that we purchase at the drug store contain harsh pesticides or chemicals that may be extremely harmful to you and your loved ones. These treatments can cause neurological and physical side effects and have also been associated with leukemia. For more information visit http://www.cape.ca/toxics/pesticideskelly.html or http://www.headlice.org. Not only are these products dangerous but they also don’t work.

They don’t work because it takes just 3-5 years for bugs to become immune, ask any farmers and they will tell you that they have to use stronger and harsher pesticides to kill the bugs.

The National Pediculosis Association report receiving 50 calls a day from parents and health care professionals reporting product failure. In England, scientists report 80% ineffectiveness. The problem with head lice is that they live on people and we cannot make the pesticides stronger without seriously putting our loved ones at risk.

Why should I use your service instead of treating the lice infestation myself?

The Lice Fairy understands how difficult and frustrating treating a case of head lice can be, especially when it affects the whole family. Our trained lice removal professionals will take the worry and frustration out of your head lice infestation. We will treat your family as we would our own, thoroughly removing the head lice and nits in a timely manner without the use of pesticides.

While treating your family, The Lice Fairy will also advise you about ways to prevent future infestations as well as consult you about treating your environment.

How should I prepare for your appointment?

Please make sure that the hair to be treated is clean (at least two washings since the last time you used an over-the-counter shampoo) and dry. You should also have the hair combed out as much as possible prior to the appointment. The Lice Fairy will bring everything that she needs for the appointment, but will need to set up near a sink and an electrical outlet. Please have a spot picked out. You will also want a fresh change of clothes to change into after the treatment is over. In order for the treatment to be effective, The Lice Fairy recommends the entire family be screened. Therefore, it is best if all family members can be home at the time of the appointment.

Do you guarantee your services?

Yes, we are proud of our products and services and offer a guarantee.


All about preventing lice…

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How do I prevent a re-infestation of lice?

Treating your home environment after a lice infestation is very important. While lice don’t prefer to live off a human head, and can’t live off a human head for more than 2 days, they can fall off the head into your environment. A lost louse is just waiting for a head to come by so that it can find its next meal. Some sources say that a female louse will lay its eggs off a head 5 minutes after landing there. While she would certainly prefer to lay her eggs on a strand of hair near a food source, it is not unreasonable for her to lay them elsewhere if she feels that it is a survival technique. Other sources claim that if given the choice, 80% of lice will lay eggs on human hair, but as many as 20% actually prefer flannel.

Either way, while lice in the environment are not the primary way that someone would get infested, it can happen. The Lice Fairy has a Home Environment Treatment checklist that must be completed, or if you prefer have The Lice Fairy perform this service for you.

How do I prevent my child from becoming re-infected at school or camp?

Teach your children about lice and how to prevent catching them. Girls should wear their hair up, or tied back, in a braided ponytail or bun when they are in a group setting. Ideally, there should be no loose hair hanging away from the head. As an extra precaution, use products that naturally repel head lice. The Lice Fairy has preventative hair care products available for purchase. Lice also don’t like hair with stiff hold products, such as gel or hair spray.

Also, instruct your children never to use someone else’s brush, barrettes, or hat. Even winter coats and scarves should not be shared. Girls should also try to prevent head-to-head contact with their friends during play, but let’s face it… girls will be girls!