The head louse that attacks humans is a small insect (Pediculus humanus capitis) with 6 legs. He can neither fly nor jump, but he can crawl very quickly. It measures from 2 mm to 4 mm. The louse is a parasite that can only live in human hair, close to the scalp, or on the eyelashes. These are the places where it can best ensure its survival and reproduction. It keeps warm there and feeds by sucking very small amounts of blood from the scalp.
The louse cannot survive more than 2 or 3 days elsewhere than on a human head. Unfortunately, when he finds one, he clings to it tightly, and the female lays her eggs there, called nits. During its life (which lasts 3 to 4 weeks), it can produce 5 or 6 per day. In the event of an infestation (“pediculosis,” the medical term), a child’s hair can contain 10 to 20 adult lice, sometimes less.
Contrary to popular belief, having head lice does not mean one lacks hygiene. The louse is simply a stubborn parasite and has been particularly well-adapted to humans since the beginning of humanity. It settles as much on a clean head as in neglected hair. It makes no distinction between people or between social classes.
Age: Anyone can get head lice, but children between the ages of 3 and 11 are particularly affected, with a peak around 8 and 9 years old. Head lice treated by Lice Doctors for instance are rare in children 2 years and under.
Duration of infestation: When the right measures are taken, the infestation can be brought under control after two weeks. A new infestation is always possible if the child is in close contact with an infested friend or family member.
Period of contagion: It lasts as long as there are live lice or viable nits on the child’s head.
Mode of transmission: Lice most often pass from head-to-head through direct hair-to-hair contact. More rarely, they profit from an exchange of a hat, scarf, or headband. They can sometimes, but rarely, be transmitted through personal items, such as a comb, brush, towel, pillowcase, etc.
Quarantine: the Lice Treatment orlando for example believe that children with head lice should be treated and continue to attend daycare or school. If your child is infested, notify the daycare or school. Tell your child to avoid sticking their head against others. In Quebec, at the beginning of the school year, the MSSS and elementary schools provide information about diagnosis and treatment.