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Head lice - questions and answers
QUESTION
  ANSWER
What do head lice eat?   Head lice are blood-feeding insects. They spend their entire life on the human scalp and feed exclusively on our blood.
How many lice can a person have?   Far more than a thousand! The average number found is much lower though: 10-12 lice per lice-infected head.
Do head lice cause itching?   Yes, but not always. When lice suck blood, they inject saliva to prevent the blood from clotting during the blood-sucking. This saliva may cause itching for some but not for everybody, thus itching cannot be used as a diagnostic symptom for head lice infestation.
Why do you require a specialized fine-tooth comb to search for head lice?   Studies have shown that combing is four times more effective to detect head lice than using the fingers to part the hair and look for them. You need a prober and well documented fine-tooth comb in order to catch the lice and their eggs. Ask your pharmacist.
Are you more at risk if you have dandruff or a dry scalp?   No.
Does poor hygiene attract lice?   No, lice feed on blood and not dirt. Just as many lice are found in clean hair as in dirty.
Can the occurrence of lice be caused by the indoor climate of my home – for instance lack of ventilation?   No, head lice live in the protection of the micro climate of the human scalp and hair: about 30oC and more than 90% air humidity.
Can I get head lice from my pets?   No, dogs, cats, horses, and birds - in fact lots of animals have their own kind of lice, but they cannot survive on humans. Conversely human lice cannot survive on animals.
I have detected head lice; how much cleaning and washing is needed in my house?   It is always nice to have a clean home. However – it has no influence on the head lice. They live in the hair on the head and stay there. A lice that falls off the head is either dead or dying.
Can I drown the lice, if I go for a swim?   No. Even when lice are under water, their spiracles are not penetrated by the water. In fact, lice can endure several hours in water without being affected.
Is the playroom in the kindergarten a greater source for infestation?   It is often speculated that children get lice from playing in the playroom of the kindergarten because a lot of pillows and hairy teddy bears lay around. Children do not, however, not get head lice, because there are a lot of lice in the room itself. If children are infested in the playroom, it is due to the fact when they play in the playroom they often have more head to head contact – a perfect opportunity for the lice to crawl from one head to another.
Do we need to send the children home from school when we find lice on their heads?   No; studies show that when lice are found on a child, they have typically been there for several weeks and as such is not an acute problem. However, it is important to inform the parents. The child must be under treatment before they are back to school.
Why does the scalp itch like crazy when you talk about head lice?   Perhaps your sub conscience tells you that head lice mean itching!
Head lice are resistant towards head lice products, so do they work at all?   Some resent studies have found head lice resistance towards the traditional insect poison products in some countries. Today a broad range of products are available which act physically (and not through the nervous system). Head lice cannot develop resistance towards these products, which makes them very effective; and they kill insect poison resistant lice as well.
Do the lice die if you stay long in a sauna?   No, our body regulates the temperature at the scalp so that it does not get dangerously high – neither to the lice nor to ourselves.
Can lice live in chest hair?   Humans can be infested with three lice species: Head lice, body lice, and crab lice. Crab lice can be found in chest hair, but usually this kind of lice is found in pubic hair (in the crotch or armpits). However, in the western world crab lice are a species of lice in decline; probably due to the common shaving of pubic hair. Head lice cannot live in chest hair.
Does the pH-value of the scalp or blood type influence lice?   No.
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  What do head lice eat?
Does poor hygiene attract head lice?
Can I get infested from my pets?

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