Head lice… Symptoms and causes?! Prevention and treatment?!

Head lice:

Head louse is a parasitic insect with no wings. Head lice live on human blood absorbed from the skin of the head. The size of the louse amounting to the size of a sesame seed. Its eggs are called nits and they are much smaller than adult lice, however, they look like the dandruff. Usually it is easy to find the lice and nits in the hair line on the neck of the infected person, as well as behind his ears. Head lice are very contagious. Using the personal things of an infected person, like hats and hair combs, is a common cause of injury. Often, children between the three and eleven years of age are most vulnerable to injury, with their families as well. Personal hygiene has nothing to do with how lice are spread. The symptoms of head lice are:

  • Feeling tickling in the scalp.
  • Feeling itchy, repeatedly often.
  • Sores result from itching.

The most important step in the treatment of head lice is to address the injured person, along with the rest of his/her family, to medicines that kill lice.


Head lice are small parasitic insects with no wings, live on the human head skin, and feed on blood. Head lice are very contagious and they can be easily transmitted through intercourse with an infected person’s personal things like hats, pillows, or hair combs. This educational essay shall help to understand things about head lice and discusses the symptoms.

What are head lice?

Head lice are small insect with no wings, live on the human head skin, and feed on blood. They belong to parasites in their type. The length of the louse, could reach up to about 2.3 millimeters, and that would be the length of a sesame seed. Lice eggs are called nits and they are much smaller than adult head lice, as they look like the dandruff. Usually it is easy to find the lice and nits in the hair line on the neck of the infected person, as well as behind his ears. Female lice lay about hundred eggs at a time. These eggs hatch over a period ranging from five to ten days, it takes about seven to ten days for a newly hatched louse to grow into an adult and start to lay eggs. They live about three weeks or more. Head lice are very contagious. Even though the louse cannot fly or jump, they can transmit easily when using the personal things of an infected person, like hats and hair combs, is a common cause of injury. Cats, dogs, and other pets do not play any role in the spread of lice that infect humans. Lice do not transmit diseases among people. They are not considered dangerous. Frequent incidence of head lice are common among children in the age of three up to eleven, and it is possible that lice would be transmitted in their families as well.


Some of the symptoms of head lice are listed down as follows:

– To feel tickled as something is moving in the head hair.

– To feel itchy in the scalp.

– The infected person with head lice may feel so annoyed, and probably he would experience sleeping difficulties. Yes, head lice infections can be accompanied with sores in the skin of the head, yet, it is important to know that the violent itching of the scalp is what leads to these sores, not the head lice themselves.


Head lice spread mostly through direct contact with the hair of the infected person. People get head lice when they have head-to-head contact with someone who has head lice. The spread of head lice goes mostly through direct contact with the infected person’s hair. Children during playing at school, home or other public places often are exposed to head-to-head contact, which would actually help head lice spreading. Head lice can live up to two days without access to food; if the louse stayed on the pillow or bed, it would easily transmit to another person once he use the object. Head lice can spread in many ways including:

 When wearing the clothing of the infected person like the hats, scarves, coats, sports clothes, or hair bands.

   When using the infected person hair combs, or towels.

 When laying on an infected person’s bed or using his pillow or personal staff been used recently.


Best diagnosis of infection with head lice is, of course, to find live lice on the scalp of a person or his hair. Unfortunately, Head lice are hard to find because of its small size and fast moves, in addition to its tendency to avoid the light. Using the head lice comb is probably so useful in finding head lice. These combs can be found in most pharmacies. You can see the lice and nits with the naked eye. Yet, the use of a magnifying glass may be necessary to find the eggs or the head lice crawling on the scalp. Here it is important to remind that it is easy to confuse the eggs of lice with the other small objects that can be found in the hair. Meaning the dandruff, the remnants of lotions used for hair, or maybe the grains of dust or dirt. It is a strong evidence of lice infection, but not a conclusive evidence, when you find the head lice eggs attached tightly to the roots of the hair, as the hair lice eggs conjoined on more than a half of centimeter from the roots of the hair are often dead eggs or simply the remnants of eggs hatched earlier. When you do not find any lice, despite the presence of eggs attached to the hair at an altitude of more than half of a centimeter, it is likely that the infection is a past and the lice are no longer active. There is no need to apply treatment in this case.


Those diagnosed with head lice are recommended to start treating it. Also it is recommended to examine the families of the infected persons and those with whom they contact closely, to apply treatment on all infected persons. Usually special lice treatment shampoo or creams are used in lice infection treatment. You can buy many of these products from any pharmacy whenever you need and without a doctor prescription. Attention must be paid well while reading the instructions on the packaging or on the box, as they would show the time needed for the shampoo application on the hair before washing it well.  Instructions also describe how to wash your hair after the shampoo application anyhow. Instructions for use may vary from one drug to another depending on the drug substance. It is necessary to comply with the instructions that are written on the packaging or on the instructions on the paper contained within the enclosure. If it did not work successfully with the purchased drug, doctors, in that case, can prescribe for the patient more powerful hair shampoo. However, there are special hair combs also available in pharmacies to get rid of head lice. With the small spaces between the teeth of this kind of combs, they can clear the head of lice and their eggs. These special combs are considered as an effective way to get rid of lice and their eggs, without resorting to chemical treatment through the use of special lice shampoos.

Head lice prevention:

You can do the following to help preventing head lice and control its spread:

  1. Avoid direct contact with the head or hair of another person while playing, or doing any other activities in your home, school, or any other places.
  2. Avoid using of others belongings such as: the clothing, hats, scarves, coats, sports clothes, and hair bands or hair clips.
  3. Avoid using of others combs or hair brushes and towels. Combs and brushes infested with lice, after being used by an infected person, should be cleared by soaking in hot water with temperature not less than sixty Celsius degrees for a period of time ranging from five to ten minutes.
  4. Avoid lying down on a bed or a sofa used recently by a person infected with lice, also avoid using his pillows or staff.
  5. Wash all staff used by the infected person using water of high temperatures.
  6. Clean the place used by the infected person using a vacuum cleaner.

Do not use insecticides to treat lice. There is no need to use these substances that can be toxic to humans and animals at home as well.

It is so difficult to prevent the spread of lice among children as they contact closely while playing. So, if you got your child infected with head lice, it does not mean there are no healthy habits at home.

Head lice must be treated by using lice treatment shampoo, and children must learn not to use others hats, hair combs, scarves, or any other hair accessories.