Marilyn Sherlock (Trichologist) gives expert video advice on: How do you treat head lice? and more...
What are head lice?
Head lice are parasites and they're unpleasant parasites. They're very prolific at the moment and have been actually for several years. They feed on blood from scalp. Many people find that they have a stigma attached to this, that the child - because it's usually children that have this problem - is dirty. This is not the case. The head lice will attach themselves to any head of hair whether it's clean or dirty. In fact, it actually prefers clean hair because it's easier to get through to the scalp, to the skin and to the blood, eventually, than it is on a dirty head.
What is the difference between head lice and nits?
Head lice and nits are really one and the same thing. A head louse is the actual insect - the parasite. The nit is the egg that the head louse lays, that is attached with a gluey substance to the hair shaft, generally very close to the scalp. That is the difference - one is an egg and one is the actual insect.
What are the symptoms of head lice?
Symptoms of head lice are very obvious. It's intense irritation. The individual will be scratching regularly particularly when they are warm and on warm spots of their head. Usually, irritation will occur in the nape of the neck or if there is a ponytail, for example, under there where the warmth is, because that's where the lice will prefer to live.
How do you get head lice?
You get head lice generally by direct contact with another person with head lice. Head lice don't jump as is believed; they walk. It is possible to get them from the backs of a chair, or other things where someone has been there, if their head has been their before you, but usually not long before you. Generally speaking, it is head to head contact, or hats, or sharing brushes - that sort of thing. That is the usual way that head lice are transferred.
Does everyone in the family need to be treated for head lice?
Ideally, everyone in the family needs to be treated for head lice. It is deemed possible that men are more resilient to getting head lice so that the adult male may escape anyway. But to be absolutely certain, everyone should be treated.