Hair is said to be the beauty of the face, and what a mess happens when lice reside in them. Generic name of head lice is “Pediculus humanus captis”. They are the parasite that feed on the blood and exist only in the hairs. They lay their eggs on the head and adhere to the hair near the scalp. They are spread very easily and fast through the objects like comb (using same comb), hairbrushes, hair bands, head phones and related items, as the lice can survive till 2-3 days away from the scalp. Eggs too are resistant and can live for 2-3 days but they particularly need humid atmosphere to grow. Usually head lice occur more often in schoolchildren as they are for long time in close contact with each other and often unknowingly use shared brushes and combs. Many a times lice are present in other parts of the body usually covered with hair, these are usually not head lice rather they may be pubic lice (generic name: Pthirus pubis) or may be body lice (generic name: Pediculus humanus humanus)
One should keep the hair clean regularly, or rather should wash alternatively to avoid it. Since head lice life cycle contain three phases of growth:
1. Nit phase
1. Nit phase is the primitive phase where the head lice occur in egg form. They are microscopic and very difficult to identify and mostly are misidentified as dandruff. They adhere to the hair shaft tightly.
2. Nymphs are the pre-adult stage of head lice cycle. After completing 6-7days they grow into adult form. They feed on the blood and predominantly grow into adult form.
3. An adult louse is the mature form and is approximately of the sesame seed size. It is usually tan grayish to whitish in color and appear with six legs. Usually dark hairs contain dark colored lice, and can predominately live for nearly 30 days long span in one’s hair. In this case itching of the scalp occurs when the louse bites the scalp preferably to suck blood for its feeding.
- Due to saliva secretion of louse may cause itching, irritation of the scalp.
- may also cause insomnia in extreme cases.
- It can also cause loss of hair and adenopathy.
- sometimes in extreme cases scalp bleeding takes place that can cause infection.
To avoid the lice infection, it is very important to adopt preventive measures like using herbal treatment and various oil that are available in the market to prevent the growth of lice. Many natural products like tee oil, herbal shampoo, hair-conditioners, lavender oil can be used to control it. Fine-teethed combs should be used.