What are Head Lice?

Wat zijn hoofdluizen

Head lice are the infestation of tiny insects that feed on blood from the human scalp. An infestation of the head he is also referred to pediculosis capitis which most often affects, children and usually results from the immediate transfer of lice from the hair of one person to the hair of another individual.

A head lice infestation is not a symptom of poor personal hygiene or an unclean living environment. Head lice do not transmit bacterial or viral infectious diseases.

Over-the-counter and prescription medications are viable to treat head lice. Following treatment directions carefully is essential for ridding your scalp and hair of lice and their eggs.

Some home or natural remedies are used to treat head lice infections, but there is little to no clinical evidence of their effectiveness.


You may not be cognizant of a lice infestation. However, common signs and symptoms can comprise of the following:

Itching. Itching on the scalp, neck, and ears is the often the primary symptom. This is an allergic reaction to louse saliva. When a someone has an infestation for the first time, itching may not occur for two to six weeks after infestation
Lice on top of the scalp. Lice may be visible but difficult to spot because they are small, avoid light and move quickly.
Lice eggs (nits) on hair shafts. Nits stick to hair shafts hatching nits may be difficult to see because they are minuscule and camouflaged to match hair color. They are easiest to spot encompassing the ears and the hairline of the neck. Empty nits may be simpler to spot because they are lighter in color and further from the scalp. However, the present of units does not necessarily indicate an infestation.

When should you see a doctor

See your doctor you begin treatment if you suspect that you or your child has a head lice infestation. Research indicate that many children have been treated for head lice with over-the-counter medications of home remedies when they do not have an active head lice infestation.

Things often mistook for nuts include.

  • Dandruff
  • Residue from hair products
  • Scab tissue, dirt or other debris
  • Bead of dead hair tissue on a hair shaft(hair cast)
  • Other small insects found in the hair
  • Dead or empty nits from previous head lice infestation


A head louse is a tan or grayish insect about the size of a strawberry seed. It feeds on human blood that its extract from the scalp. The female line produces a sticky substance that adheres each egg to a hair shaft. AN egg is attached roughly 3/16 inch or 4 millimeters from the base of the shaft. This environment is ideal for growth the right temperatures while during egg incubation.

The Louse life cycle.
A louse egg hatches after eye or nine days. A small immature form of lice called a nymph. The nymph becomes a mature adult insect after nine to 12 days, and the adult lives for three to four weeks.

Head lice only crawl, but they are unable to jump or fly. Frequently transmission of a head louse from person to another is by direct contact. Thus, transmission is most often within a family or among children who have a close contact at school or during playtime.

There is some evidence that brushing dry hair with static electricity may make a house airborne for a short distance.

Indirect transmission is not expected, but lice may move from one person to another by an item such as:

  • Towels
  • Pillows
  • Headphones
  • Hair Accessories
  • Hats and scarves
  • Brushes and combs

The indirect transfer also could occur among items of clothing stored together. For example, hats or scarves hung on the same hook stored in the same school locker could serve as vehicles for transmitting lice.

Risk Factors
Because head lice are spread primarily by a head to head contact, the irks of transmission is greater among younger people who play or go to school together. IN the United Staes, cases of head lice most often occur in children in preschool through Middle school.

Complications can occur if your child scratches his/her scalp and break the skin, causing an infection.
According to American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. The best and clearest for of diagnosing active head lice infestation is finding a live nymph or adult louse.

The guidelines recommend an exemption of wet hair lubricated with such products as a standard conditioner. Your physician will carefully comb your child’s hair with a fine-tooth comb or nit come from the cap to the end of the there. If there is no louse found, he or she will likely repeat the entire exam a second time.

Identifying Nits
Your doctor will also examine your child’s hair for nits. To find nits, he or she may use a specialized light called a Wood’s Light, which causes nits to appear bluish. However, the identification of nits does not necessarily confirm the diagnosis of an active infestation.

Live nits need to be near the scalp to incubate. Nits found about 6mm or 1/4 inch from the scalp are likely empty or dead; Suspected nits can be examined under a microscope to determine if they are living, which is considered an active infestation,
If no live nits are found, they are probably left from a previous infestation and not evidence of an active infestation.

Treatments and drugs
Your doctor will likely recommend over the counter medication that kills lice and some of the eggs. These medications that kill lice and some of the eggs. However, these medications may no kill recently laid eggs. So appropriately timed second treatment is normally necessary to kill nymphs after they hatch but before they com adult lice.

Some studies propose that the ninth day after the initial treatment is the ideal time for a second treatment, although there are other treatment schedules. You should ask your doctor for instructions.
OTC medications are based on Pyrethrin; a chemical composite extracted from the chrysanthemum flow that is toxic to lice. What your child’s hair with shampoo with no conditioner before using one of these treatments. Flushing the hair with white vinegar before washing may help diffuse the glue that holds the nits to the hair shafts. Follow directions on the package for how long to leave medications inside the hair; you will thin want to rinse your child’s hair over the sink with warm water.

OTC medications include the following:

  • Permethrin (Nix) Permethrin is a synthetic variant of pyrethrin, Side effects may comprise of redness and itching of the scalp.
  • Pyrethrin with additives (Rid, A 200 Lice Killing). In this medication, pyrethrin is combined with other chemicals that enhance its toxicity to lice. Side effects mya include redness on the scalp and itching. Pyrethrin should not be used if you are a child and is allergic to ragweed or chrysanthemum

Prescription Drugs 

In some region of the world, lice have developed resistance to OCT medications. Also, OTC treatment may fail because of incorrect use, such as not repeating the treatment an appropriate time.

If the OTC treatments do not work, your doctor may recommend prescription treatments.

Benzyl alcohol (Utes if). This is a no toxic but love, but it deprives them oxygen. Side effects include itching of the scalp and redness and itching of the scalp. The use of benzyl alcohol is disinfected medical devices has been shown to cause seizures and other severe reactions in newborn infants. Benzyl is not approved for using in children who are under six months of age.
Malathion (Ovide) Malathion is regulated for use in people over the age of 6. This medicated shampoo, will dry naturally and rinse out after eight to 12 hours. The rug has high alcohol content, so should not be used near a dryer, hot comb, curlers or open flame.

It can be difficult to limit the spread of head lice among children in schools and child care facilities since there is so much close contact. The change of indirect transmission from person items is very slight.

It is good practice for children to hang garments on separated hooks and not to share hats, scarves, combs, brushes. However, a worry about head lice transmission is not considered a good reason to avoid sharing protective headgear for safety reasons when sharing is necessary.