- Colour Dirty white, grey, or brown
- Size Up to 2 to 3 mm long
- Description Around the size of a sesame seed with a flat body and small head. Their oval-shaped grey and yellow eggs, also known as nits, can be smaller than a grain of sand.
- Notes Often mistaken for dandruff, lice and nits are unaffected by normal shampoos.
Why do I have lice?
Lice feed on human on human blood, living on different parts of the body. Head lice live in hair and are most common among school-aged children, who attend daycare centers, classrooms, and camps, but anyone can get them.
Meanwhile, body lice mostly infest the chest and torso, hiding in the seams and folds of clothes that come in contact with the human body. Pubic/crab lice are commonly found in the pubic area, arpits, eyebrows and beards.
The average louse feeds on blood every three to six hours. Lice can live in temperatures of up to 54°C, but cannot survive off the human body for over 48 hours.
Head lice eggs are laid and cemented to the base of hair near the scalp, while body lice eggs are laid and glued to cloth. Lice eggs hatch into nymphs after a week. Adult body lice can live for about 30 days on a host and head lice for about 24 days.
Lice are not caused by dirty hair or poor hygiene. Both head and body lice are spread and transferred by direct contact with infested hair, hair accessories, clothing, towels, pillows, bedding, and blankets.
How worried should I be about lice?
Lice can cause an irritating tickling sensation in the hair, behind the ears, or along the neck, and great discomfort. Body lice leave behind itchy rashes that may appear thick or discoloured. Likewise pubic lice can cause severe itching, irritation and discomfort.
Scratching the affected area can cause sores and skin infections.
Once spotted, lice can easily be treated at home. Vigorous washing of clothes and bedding in hot water should kill off body lice, while the careful use of medicated shampoos and conditioners should end a head lice infestation.
How can I prevent lice invading?
Inspect children's hair regularly, Avoid sharing head accessories such as hats, caps, combs, hair brushes or scarfs, Look for unhatched eggs, Use a nit comb to remove eggs, Wash clothes and bedding in hot water
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