EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT HEAD LICE
The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that 6-12 million people get head lice in the US each year. Contrary to some myths, lice are just as likely to infest a clean head as they are a dirty one. While the thought of bugs in a child’s hair may be upsetting – there’s no reason to panic!
Common Fact and Questions at a Glance
What Are Head Lice?
1. Head lice are tiny wingless insects.
2. They have 6 legs and do NOT fly, jump or hop, but they move very fast.
3. They are human parasites that feed on the blood of the infested person.
4. They obtain the blood through a person’s scalp, which is what makes them itch.
How Prevent the Spread of Head Lice:
1. The main way lice are spread is head-to-head contact.
2. Do not share hair-related personal items.
3. Avoid sleepovers and slumber parties during lice outbreaks
4. Machine wash and dry, at high temperatures, any bedding and clothing used by anyone having lice.
5. Call us for Lice Removal in Southern California
How Big are Lice and Their Eggs?
1. Nits (or eggs) are about the size of the letter “O” on the back of a penny
2. Nits are attached to the hair with a strong glue-like substance
3. Adult lice are about the size of a sesame seed or the size of the word “ONE” on the back of a penny.
About the Nit, the Nymph and the Louse:
1. One nit can hatch after 8-12 days and then becomes a nymph (a young louse).
2. A female louse will become an adult in 3-5 days and lay 6 or more nits per day.
3. Lice can live about 30 days on your head in their lifetime – that can be a lot of eggs if left untreated.
Where Do Head Lice Come From?
1. Nobody is certain about the origin of head lice.
2. Head lice are everywhere and can even be dated back to mummies in ancient Egypt.
How Do Head Lice Stay on My Hair?
1. Lice have tiny but powerful claws that hold onto the hair.
Can You Get Lice from Your Pet?
1. No. Lice do NOT live on animals.
2. Pets do NOT play a role in the spread of head lice.
3. Head lice are HUMAN parasites and do not live on animals.
Q: What are some head lice symptoms?
You may have head lice and might not even know it. In many cases there are no symptoms at all, especially if it is your first time getting head lice. Most often though people feel a tickling sensation or something that feel like it is crawling. It just does not feel right. Like your scalp is moving. Another sensation is itchiness. This is an allergic reaction to the saliva from lice after they feed on blood from the scalp. Those are symptoms that are pretty common. It is best to look in the mirror or have someone look through your hair to see lice is present or to go to a professional treatment to see if you have a case of lice.
Q: Do I need to come back for a follow-up head screening after getting treated by Los Alamitos-Torrance Lice Removal?
A: Due to the lice life cycle and the success rate of our treatment process, unless you see live lice crawling in your hair, we do not recommend a follow-up head screen any sooner than 10 days after your treatment.
For those treated that have been categorized as a moderate or severe infestation or those that want to be extra cautious, we recommend that you apply two ounces of our active rinse 5 days and 10 days after treatment. This is a requirement for severe infestations if you want to qualify for our optional 30-day lice free service.
We are a one treatment solution, have a great track record of success, and have made every effort to keep our costs as low as possible for you so a follow-up head screen is not required and is not included in the price of our treatment.
However, if you would like peace of mind that the person treated is still lice free, we provide one complimentary peace of mind head screen on all full-service treatments that qualified for our optional 30-day guarantee. All other head screens are $25.
The surest way to know for sure that you need to be retreated is if you see live lice crawling around on the head or a group of nits where there was none before. Being able to pop the dehydrated eggs is a myth and does not mean you have viable eggs.
Q: What are some housecleaning tips?
A: A common misconception about treating people and homes that have had contact with lice is that the only way to get them out of the house is to put everything in the home that is made of any type of fabric in plastic bags for two weeks and have the furniture and carpets cleaned. Not necessary!Here is what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about home cleaning when lice are found: “Head lice do not survive long if they fall off a person and cannot feed. You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money on housecleaning activities.”
-Live lice do not hop, jump, or fly. They only crawl and can survive less than 48 hours if they fall off the scalp and cannot feed. Typically they will die within 15 hours or less
-Lice eggs (nits) cannot hatch and usually die within a week if they do not remain under ideal conditions of heat and humidity similar to those found close to the human scalp. Therefore, because a nit must incubate under conditions equivalent to those found near the human scalp, it is very unlikely to hatch away from the head. In addition, if the egg were to hatch, the newly emerged nymph would die within several hours if it did not feed on human blood.
-By getting your treatment and killing both the lice and eggs off the host human scalp, you will have taken the biggest step to being lice-free.
-Routine house cleaning, including vacuuming of carpeting, rugs, furniture, car seats, and other fabric covered items, as well as laundering of linens and clothing worn or used by the infested person is sufficient. Only items that have been in contact with the head of the infested person in the 48 hours before treatment need be considered for cleaning.
Head lice do not survive off the human host for more than 48 hours!
So remember the 48 hour rule in all of your cleaning!
Here are some preventative housecleaning measures you can take after you have completed your treatment:
1) All bed and bath linens that have come in contact with an infected individual can be dried in the dryer on high heat for 30-40 minutes before being washed and dried again. Use hot water laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. For further peace of mind, you can isolate these items in a plastic bag for 48 hours. Be sure to include any quilts, comforters, blankets, and pillows. Items that cannot be washed and dried can be placed in plastic bags and isolated for 48 hours. There is no need to throw away any items.
2) Similar to all linens, all clothing that has been worn or in contact with an infected individual may be dried in the dryer on high heat for 30-40 minutes before being washed and dried again. If an item cannot be machine dried, place it in a bag and isolate the bag for 48 hours. Dry cleaning is not necessary or guaranteed to get rid of lice, so take special care to isolate special clothing items. This includes outerwear, hats, scarves, jackets, coats, and sweaters.
3) Stuffed animals. We recommend drying in the dryer on high for 30-40 and and washing and drying afterword. Set in a plastic bag and isolate the bag for 48 hours
4) Vacuum the floor and all furniture including all sofas, chairs, car seats, large pillows, carpets, and area rugs where the infested person sat or lay. Items such as counter tops, carpets, and floors DO NOT need to be deep cleaned. The risk of getting infested by a louse that has fallen onto a rug or carpet or furniture is very small as they cannot survive off the host human head and they do not hop, jump or fly.
5) Brushes, Combs, and Hair Accessories. Take all hair brushes, combs, and accessories, label appropriately to avoid sharing, place in plastic bags, and set in freezer for 48 hours. After that, wash thoroughly with hot, soapy water and allow to air dry. Clean any containers, holders, and drawers before putting items back to get a fresh, clean start!
6) Other items to clean or set in 48 hour isolation include: Helmets, headphones, baseball caps, graduation caps, and anything else that came in contact with the individual’s head or hair.
There are a lot of things to consider when cleaning after a head lice infestation, but it is well worth the time and peace of mind. Our treatment success rate is 99%+ so getting treated at our clinic will solve your problem. However, after our comprehensive treatment at our clinic, we know that you want to have a clean, lice-free home.
Q: I am itching. Will I still itch after treatment?
A: Yes, it is possible. Everyone’s scalp reacts differently to a lice infestation. Although we have a 99%+ success rate and you will leave our clinic lice free, it does not mean you will no longer be itching
1) A high percentage of families have tried to treat their head-lice infestation with over-the-counter shampoos prior to coming to us. Over-the counter chemicals dry out the scalp and can cause itching for days, weeks, or months.
2) About 40% of people that have lice are allergic to the saliva in a louse however this means 60% do not itch. The allergic reaction causes itching. Everyone’s scalp reacts differently. The people that are allergic to the saliva in lice can itch for days, weeks, and even months after having lice and beyond our control.
3) There is also an emotional factor to itching. Once you have the itchy sensation on your head it can be challenging to get rid of the feeling even when your lice and eggs are all gone.
Eventually, the itching will stop over time. Just because you are itching does not mean you have lice again. The only time to be concerned is if you physically see live lice crawling in the hair or eggs where there were not eggs before.
If you are concerned about still being itchy, we recommend applying a chemical free product such as our dandruff shampoo, coconut oil, aloe vera, or tea tree oil to sooth the scalp after treatment.
Q: What if I still see a few eggs in my hair after my Full Service Treatment. Is that normal?
A: It is possible and common to see a few left over dead eggs. However, the eggs that you might see are dehydrated, not viable, and will wash out over time.
On the head of any individual, there are 3 categories of eggs that could be found:
1) Viable eggs that will eventually hatch (nits)
2) Remnants of already-hatched eggs (nits)
3) Nonviable eggs (dead embryo) that will never hatch
Out of the three items listed above, only category 1-eggs containing viable embryos (nits) have the potential to infest or reinfest a host.
We will make every effort to comb-out all eggs as much as possible while at our clinic but lice eggs are glued to the hair strand and aside from cutting the hair strand at times the dehydrated eggs are impossible to comb-out. You still may have a few non-viable eggs until they wash out, get combed out, cut out, or grow out over time.
We recommend quick daily combing with a professional lice comb for up to 10 days after treatment to catch any glued eggs we were not able to get out of the hair while you were at our clinic.
However, dead eggs CANNOT cause a re-infestation and at home combing is NOT a condition of our 30 day lice-free service on our Full Service treatments. This is just our best advice as we frequently get calls from those treated thinking they still have lice or the nurse telling them they cannot come back to school only to find that it is non-viable eggs still glued to the hair.
The only two things that should cause any concern after your treatment is a
1) live bug crawling around
2) group of new nits where there was none before
These two things can be a sign of a lice re-infestation that has occurred beyond our control and cause for retreatment. Everything else you see is dehydrated, dead, and not viable. If you find a live bug please place it in a plastic bag if possible so we can check it and make sure it is actually a louse.
Q: After treatment, what if we see a few things that may or may not be a lice egg and I was able to pop a few eggs. Is there anyway to identify if these nits are dead or alive?
A: We receive calls after treatment insisting they still have lice because they can pop the egg. There is no way to look at a nit with the naked eye and determine if it is dead or alive. And although some people claim it does, being able to pop eggs does not mean you have viable eggs that can hatch!
Any nit that has not hatched will pop. That just means there is a little air in the egg case. Popping does not mean that the egg is alive, just that the cap on the end is still on.
The only two things that should cause any concern after your treatment:
1) If you see a live bug crawling around you have lice again
2) If you see a group of new nits where there was none before
Q: I am not sure if it is dandruff or eggs. How do I tell the difference?
A: We receive calls after treatment insisting the person still has lice only to find when they come back for a head screen it is dandruff. Head lice and dandruff are both indicated by tiny white particles in the hair and scalp and can be mistaken for one another at quick glance. Upon closer inspection, the differences are easier to see.
Dandruff can appear dry or oily, white or yellow-ish in color. Dandruff is easy to comb-out and falls out while lice eggs or nits attach themselves firmly to the hair shaft and are more difficult to remove. Prior to coming to our clinic, a high percentage of families have tried over-the-counter shampoos that did not work. So it is very common for us to see a high level of dandruff in people that we treat. The primary cause is excessive/multiple applications of chemical heavy over-the-counter shampoos.
You can manage dandruff with special shampoos designed to slow the skin-shedding process that might lead to skin flaking. Look for shampoos with tar, salicylic acid, ketoconazole, or selenium sulfide. Use dandruff shampoos every day to control severe flaking or weekly to manage minor symptoms.
Q: Should my pets be treated for head lice?
A: No. Head lice do not live on pets. They only live on humans. Pets do not play a role in the spread of head lice.
Q: Should household sprays be used to kill adult lice?
A: No. Using fumigant sprays or fogs is NOT recommended. Fumigant sprays and fogs can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin and they are not necessary to control head lice.
Q: Do I need to have my home fumigated?
A: No. Use of insecticide sprays or fogs is NOT recommended. Fumigant spray and fogs can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin and they are not necessary to control head lice.
Q: Should I have a pest control company spray my house?
A: No. Use of insecticide sprays or fogs is NOT recommended. Fumigant spray and fogs can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin and they are not necessary to control head lice.
Q: What are some steps to minimizing your exposure to head lice
A: Head lice cannot hop, jump, or fly. They only crawl. To reduce the chances of getting head lice from another person or from items that may have lice on them, we recommend you:
1) Avoid head-to-head contact. The primary way a person gets lice is when your head comes into direct contact with an infested individual. (Think selfie and hugging).
2) Use clinically proven, chemical-free preventive sprays every day. Lice sprays help repel head lice and can prevent your child from catching lice. Lice are resistant to the chemicals in over-the-counter preventative products.
3) Check your children for head lice each week with a professional nit comb
4) Wear hair in a braid or ponytail
5) Inform family and close friends. 1 in 20 children (6-12 million school children) get head lice each year. Lice do not care about age, ethnicity, day of the week, hygiene, income, day of the week, if you have had lice before or never had head lice before or what you do for a living. You only get head lice from another person that had it so there is no reason to be ashamed.
Informing the school nurse and other adults of children who have close contact (neighbors, sleep over friends, sports team friends, classmates, scouts etc…) is common courtesy and will promote their early indication and treatment of lice. If you have not told anyone that your child has been treated for lice, we encourage you to do so because it is likely that others may have lice hatching and the spread may continue and your or your own child may be at risk for a re-infestation if these children are not head screened or treated.
Very often parents contract head lice from their children.
Because lice is spread through head-to-head contact, all immediate family members are at risk when a family member has lice. Half the people we treat are children under 18 but the other half are adults, usually moms. All lice need to survive is a hair strand and a warm scalp. So people with short hair (including dads) can and do get head lice.
Human head lice don't live very long. Maybe about 30-45 days is their entire life cycle. They need human blood to survive. They feed about every 2-3 hours off the scalp of the head. If they come off the scalp, should that happen, they die within 24-48 hours. They don't like to come off the scalp. They need high heat and high humidity to survive. They like to lay their eggs on the hair shaft very close the scalp where it is nice and warm and nice and humid. When those eggs hatch, they can immediately get on the scalp and feed on the blood. Adult females lay 80 to 90 eggs during their lifetime and their eggs take about 8 to 9 days to hatch. Infestations will continue literally for years if you don't seek treatment so we recommend that you seek treatment and make sure you find out if you have a case of head lice or not.
Lice survive by sucking the human blood every two to three hours. Itching is an allergic reaction to the lice saliva. 40% of the people that have lice are allergic to the lice saliva and itch however 60% of the people that have lice don’t itch.
Lice live towards the nape of the neck and the back of the head so it is almost impossible to head screen and/or treat yourself.
The biggest challenge in ending a lice infestation are the lice eggs. They are the size of a grain of sand and do not move. They are typically glued to the hair strand. They also have a protective shell that product simply cannot penetrate. Because they are not yet hatched, they do not suck blood or cause itching.
Most people head straight to the local drugstore and buy over-the-counter shampoos such as RID or NIX and apply the product to their child’s hair only to find that it does not work-the lice and their eggs are still there. The primary chemical in these products is Permethrin. The lice have mutated and now recognize this chemical. In addition to not ending the lice infestation, these products are full of chemicals that can also cause itching and irritation on the scalp.
Traditional lice treatments require multiple applications and tedious nitpicking to remove eggs. Even worse, traditional drug store products no longer work because Super Lice are pesticide resistant. Lice have developed resistance to the pesticides the traditional products use, and it is not uncommon for families to struggle with head lice for weeks or months at a time trying to treat your head lice infestation yourself. It can also be a real challenge treating your own child and a strain on your relationship versus having a professional treat your child.
Savvy parents know that getting rid of the lice eggs is the biggest challenge of ending a head lice infestation. Lice eggs are glued to the hair strand, the size of a grain of sand, and don’t move.
Lice eggs have a protective shell that product simply cannot penetrate.
Lice do not care about age, income, ethnicity, time of the year, gender, if you have had lice before or not, or how long you have had lice. The cost of treating lice yourself can add up quickly in addition to being time consuming, stressful, and you can still have lice.
Due to the lice life cycle, you can soon have several hundred eggs in your hair and have lice for days, weeks, months, and even years. What’s more, 50% of the people we treat are children ages 3-17 but the other 50% are adults. Trying to treat yourself is almost impossible.
Many families come to us after they have unsuccessfully spent many long hours trying to treat it themselves with no results and lots of wasted time and money.
By that time, the infestation has become much worse and other family members and close friends have been infested since lice is spread through head-to-head contact.
If not treated properly, the head lice infestation does not just "go away." A person can have lice for days, weeks, months, or even years.
We have a comprehensive 100% chemical-free process, have a 99%+ success rate, a 30 day lice free guarantee,
We can get you lice free in about 1 hour.