A head louse is a small insect that looks an ant; the head louse grows in three stages, the eggs, the nymph (baby louse) and the adult called a head louse. A head louse only lives for about five to six weeks in total but in this time it can lay a couple of hundred eggs.
There are a few ways to treat an infestation but you have to be careful when using some of the available treatments because head lice are persistent little pests that can become resistant to treatments. If you find that lice are walking on your comb unharmed after a particular treatment then you know it is ineffective and you will need to try another form of treatment that doesnt have the same compounds.
By finding one treatment doesnt work and try another you need to make sure they carry different compounds because the lice have become resistant to the compound in the first treatment that would normally work against them.
There are four groups of treatment available, these are grouped by the compound they have in them to kill the lice. These groups are
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Synthetic Pyrethroids (permethrin and bioallethrin)
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Organophosphates (malathion or maldison)
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Herbal and essential oils
You do need to read the label on some of the available treatments if your pregnant or you are going to use them on a child as a lot of them contain insecticides that can be harmful to children and an unborn fetus.
One major problem with head lice is the speed in which they can spread, they are very contagious because many people dont know they have lice until its to late and they have passed them to someone else.
The main age range to become infested is between four and eleven years old because of the close proximity these ages have with other people of their own age range, and their lack of personal space awareness.
Another problem is that Head lice eggs are glued to the scalp by the saliva of a female and while you can comb out head lice, you will not be able to remove the eggs as they stick firmly and are only the size of a grain of sand.
Once you have managed to rid yourself of a head lice infestation, how do you prevent them from returning?
Now some people might say that you need to thoroughly clean your house and clothing thoroughly but this is not true as head lice can only live for a maximum of forty eight hours away from a human head.
To keep yourself from becoming infested with head lice, the best practice is to use a louse comb frequently to catch any head lice that may have managed to find their way onto your head to keep the numbers down to below infestation standards.
If you find the infestation keep reoccurring frequently or the treatments become very ineffective then you may have to visit your local doctor who can prescribe stronger treatment that cannot be bought over the counter from a pharmacy.
Did you like this article? Then you'll really want to sign up for my newsletter. It's delivered several times a week and packed with science news and analysis. Subscibe Here.