Head lice are non-flying insects that are spread by casual contact and sharing clothing. That’s why close play in childcare and primary schools make lice a much bigger issue in those age groups.
They feed on human blood, by piercing the scalp with their mouth parts and sucking blood. The scalp can become itchy because of a reaction to their saliva when they feed. So other than some itching, there aren’t any serious health problems associated with head lice. A simple examination of the scalp is usually all that’s needed to confirm the presence of these insects. They are two to four millimetres in length and gray-white in colour.
Anyone can get head lice, so it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Treating head lice involves the application of non-prescription lotions for every family member. Using a fine-tooth comb to physically remove the dead lice and eggs, called nits, is also essential for successful treatment.
To help kill the lice, along with any eggs, all bedding, clothing, and towels used for 48 hours prior to treatment will need to be washed in hot water.