Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Issue of Head Lice

Welcome Back to School

By Guest Blogger Kelly Taggart - 
a beauty industry veteran with Purely Visual. 

Discovering that you or your child has head lice can be very traumatic. It is estimated that 10% of preschool and elementary school age children are treated for head lice annually, so it’s only a matter of time before it affects you, your family, or your child’s classmates, teammates, and friends.

What are Head Lice?
Head lice (Pediculus capitis) are small parasitic insects, about the size of a sesame seed, that require human blood to survive. They live mainly on the scalp and neck hairs of their human host. Head lice can live on a human head approximately 30 days but generally cannot survive longer than 24 to 48 hours off the host.

The adult louse is constructed for climbing and grasping with six legs, each possessing a strong claw. Mature lice are tan to grayish-white in color, but can appear darker on persons with darker hair.

An adult female louse, which is slightly larger than males, lays 3-5 eggs (or nits) a day. Nits are extremely tiny, about the size of a knot in thread and are hard to see. They are yellowish or grayish white, teardrop shaped, and are attached firmly to the hair shaft. Nits take about 1 week to hatch. Eggs that are likely to hatch are usually located within 1/4 inch of the scalp. The nit hatches into a baby louse called a nymph, which looks much like an adult head louse, but is smaller. Nymphs mature into adults about 7 days after hatching, and then the cycle starts all over again. 

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