You asked

What are headlice?

Head lice are very small parasitic insects that live on the scalp, where they hide in the hair, feed on blood and lay their eggs which often cause severe discomfort and itching. Getting head lice are not a sign of poor hygiene so there is no need to feel embarrassed if your child gets them. In fact, quite the opposite is true, head lice prefer clean hair as it allows them to move from hair to hair easier.
 
Facts about head lice:
  • Cannot live on pets
  • Are reddish-brown wingless insects
  • Are roughly the size of a sesame seed
  • Feed on human blood two to three times daily.
  • Cannot live off the human host for more than 24 hours.
  • Female head lice can lay up to 100 eggs and only require one mating to be fertilised.
  • Are able to reproduce in ten days and live eggs hatch in seven to ten days.
  • Live on a host for approximately 30 days.
  • Mainly transferred by head to head contact but can also be spread through the sharing of personal objects, e.g. using the same hairbrush.
  • Can't hop, jump or fly. They climb on the hair and scalp.
How to treat head lice:
  • When it comes to nits and head lice, prevention is definitely better than a cure. If you perform regular head lice checks on the whole family, you will be better equipped to cope with any small outbreaks rather than having to deal with an infestation. 

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