How Much Do You Know About Head Lice?

What are they? Why are they here? What can we do about them?

Those Pesky Critters!

H ead Lice are tiny parasites that live in our hair and feed on blood from our scalp. Yikes! It is estimated that among children 3 to 11 years of age,  6 million to 12 million infestations occur each year in the United States. If you add in siblings, parents and grandparents who catch it from these children, that number is astronomical.

For more facts about head lice, TAKE OUR QUIZ  and find out if you’re a Head Lice Novice or Head Lice Master!

What Do You Know About Head Lice?

False. Our pets cannot carry or contract head lice. Head lice are human parasites and can only survive on our scalp and on our blood.

False. Head Lice do not transmit or carry diseases. The only medical issue that becomes a concern is infection due to scratching their bites.

False. Head Lice do not have knees or wings so they cannot jump or fly. They trapeze from head to head.

False. Head lice need a warm, moist environment to thrive and must feed every 3-4 hours. Off of a human host they will either dry up or starve to death within 24 hours. A very hearty head lice may live 48 hours off of a host.

True. Not everyone reacts to the saliva the same way. Some people do not itch at all and some have chronic itching due to the bites.

False. Most head lice today (super lice) are immune to sprays and pesticides.

True. Head lice usually spread through head to head contact but they can also be transmitted through hair accessories, clothing, hats, pillow cases, and other items.

True and False. The origins of powdered white wigs were to cover up bald heads due to venereal diseases and head lice. The powdered white wig we typically see on George Washington  probably hid his bald head after being shaved for head lice.  However, the popular wig was also a fashion statement, so whether our First President had head lice or not, we will never know.

False. Head lice prefer clean hair but will  live in dirty hair.

True. The word “lousy” is derived from “louse” as in, “It sure is lousy to get head lice!”

True. A female head lice procreates once then lays 3-6 eggs a day for the duration of her life.

True. However, the circumstances for an egg to hatch successfully have to be near perfect: a warm, moist place and then a host to feed upon immediately after hatching.

True. Head lice have slowly become immune to common treatments, and thus have become ‘super lice.’

False. A nit is an egg.

False. Head lice can live in water for 8 hours maximum.

False. Lice will die in 24-48 hours if they don’t have a human host to feed upon. However, nit casings and head lice debris were found in some ancient Egyptian tombs.

True. It is possible to brush the lice bug out of your hair,  but because the nits (eggs) are attached to your hair strand by a glue-like substance the female places over the egg, it is impossible to brush the nits out. The glue-like substance hardens like cement and can only be removed by a good head lice comb or by your pulling it off with your fingernails.

True. Head lice get their light to dark coloring from the blood they ingest from their host.

False. Many eggs are white but most are dark in color, ranging from brown to black.

How Did You Do?

If you got:

1-5  correct you are a head lice  NOVICE

6-12  correct  you are a head lice FRESHMAN

13-19  correct  consider yourself a head lice EXPERT

All 20  you have achieved the rank of  head lice MASTER!