Head Lice And Prevention Strategies
A head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis) is a small parasitic insect which lives on the human scalp and feeds exclusively on human blood. No other animals besides humans are known to host the parasite. Though its lifespan is only approximately 1 month, a female louse lays between 5-150 eggs (nits) during that time. The young louse emerge from the egg in an initial nymphal stage. They molt three times during that phase, then develop into nymph 2 and nymph 3 stages before developing into adult male or female louse.
Adult head lice mate frequently, and females lay approximately 3-4 eggs each day. Generations last for about 1 month. Each stage of development feeds on blood, which they harvest by biting the skin 4-5 times each day. During oviposition, females excrete a glue-substance from a gland located on the posterior of their body. This substance attaches the heads to the hair of the host. While lice may colonize any part of the scalp, they favor the nape of the neck and the area behind the ears, where eggs are often laid.
The most common symptom of infestation is pruritus on the head, which typically will intensify about 3 to 4 weeks after the initial infestation occurs. Bite reactions are generally mild and can seldom be seen between the hairs. The bites themselves are sometimes visible, especially on the neck of people with long hair. In rare instances, individuals who scratch the itchy bites too much can develop secondary infections with impetigo and pyoderma. Swelling in the lymph nodes and fevers are rare complications. Head lice are not believed to transmit pathogenic microorganisms.
How to get rid of lice?Well that is a tough question because there is practically no product in the market, which kills 100% of the eggs after a single treatment.Various methods used include chemical treatment,hot air, combs, shaving the head,dimeticone etc.It is not recommended to use kerosene (alone or in combination with oil and vinegar), hair bleaches and dyes, antibiotics or ivermectin for treatment and garlic and Vitamin B for prevention.
Despite countless efforts to eliminate head lice, the pests have a strong reputation for resistance. As with other "superbugs" in today's medical and scientific age, head lice are becoming increasingly aggressive against treatments commonly used today. It is believed that up to 80% of lice are capable of resisting unprescribed methods, including chemicals such as permathrin and phenothrin.
So we find that we cant do much to treat head lice infection.Like they say prevention is the best cure.The experts say the process of natural selection means the insects have developed a resistance to the lotions. The findings will not just leave children, parents and teachers scratching their heads. It will almost certainly start a scramble to discover a lotion to do the job better.
Pediculus humanus capitis, commonly known as the head louse, spend its entire lifetime on the human scalp. Adult head lice reproduce very frequently, with the females laying three to four eggs per day on average. The female then will attach her eggs at the base of the hair follicle of the host. A question arises is how to get rid of lice? Well that is a tough question because there is practically no product in the market, which kills 100% of the eggs after a single treatment. Various methods used include chemical treatment, hot air, combs, shaving the head etc.
Published December 25th, 2007