Where Do Lice Come From?

Head lice have been around for thousands of years, The first known case in the United State were in the early 1900's.

From Scientic American


The history of lice and men is a long, itchy story that intertwines co-evolution not only with these blood-sucking little parasites but also with the microbes they carry. In fact, as visceral as our reaction can be to reading the "head lice" note our little darlings bring home from school, the insects themselves are nothing compared to the microbes they can harbor…and transmit to us. The lice and the microbes have driven us to death, to peace, to giving insects enemas. Yes, you read that right. They have, in short, been our co-pilots—or is it our head pilots?—for as long as Homo sapiens have been around.

Small blood-sucking insects known as Pediculus humanus capatis. They live on a human scalp. A single insect is called a louse.

What are lice?

  • Head lice (singular “louse”) are a common health condition, especially in children. These stubborn insects may be difficult to remove from the hair and can be quite contagious.

  • Symptoms of head lice include visible detection of lice in the hair, and an itching, tingling, or tickling sensation on the scalp.

  • Lice are parasitic insects. They need a host to provide nourishment so they can live. They form a parasitic relationship with humans as their host, with blood from the scalp as their source of nourishment. Head lice live close to the scalp, and sometimes in the eyelashes and eyebrows.

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)Trusted Source, an estimated 6 to 12 million people get lice every year, and most of them are ages 3 to 11. This is because children of this age are more likely to be in close contact with each other when playing.

Who is at greatest risk for getting head lice?

Anyone in close contact with the hair of someone with head lice. Preschool and elementary-age children, 3-11 years, and their families are infested most often (6 million to 12 million infestations a year in the U.S., says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC). Girls get head lice more often than boys.

How To Diagnose A Head Lice Infestation

To perform an in-home head lice inspection, use a bright light and a magnifying glass to help you identify potential eggs, nits, and lice. Separate the individual’s hair into small sections and start by carefully checking the crown of their head. Keep an eye out for scabs that could be caused by scratching as well as actual nits and lice that may be crawling through their hair. If you see something that looks like it could be a lice egg or a nit, try to remove it with a fine comb or your fingers. If it can easily be removed, then it is likely not an egg or nit. Contact our lice removal experts today to schedule a lice inspection if you’re not sure if what you’re seeing is lice.

 

What about over-the-counter remedies or home remedies — are they effective?

Not really, and some can be harmful. The Harvard School of Public Health has stated that head lice are “resistant to permethrin and lindane” (toxic lice-fighting products now banned in California). The National Pediculosis Association (NPA) advises parents to discontinue use of head lice pesticides, which have been associated anecdotally with seizures, behavioral changes, learning issues, cancer and skin diseases.

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