The Dreaded Head Lice
Head Lice…the mere mention of these tiny creatures is enough to cause panic in parents, schools, and day cares. This normally results in a call to us for a treatment of their home or facility; but what most people don’t realize is head lice is not a pest control problem and a chemical treatment is totally unnecessary.
So what are head lice or, to use the singular form, what is a head louse? It is a parasitic insect meaning it feeds on blood. It can be found anywhere on your scalp but is most prevalent behind the ears and near the neckline. On very rare occasions, it may be found on eyelashes, eyebrows, or even beards but this is not a common occurrence. It is very hard to see because it is about the size of a sesame seed (between 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch). The egg or nit is ‘cemented’ to the hair close to the scalp and often is mistaken for dandruff or hair spray droplets. Because of this, most people do not realize they have head lice until their scalp becomes itchy or they get a tickly feeling on their head.
Contrary to belief, head lice are not cause by bad personal hygiene. As a matter of fact, it is believed that head lice actually prefer clean hair to dirty hair. And just because you may have short hair instead of long hair, doesn’t mean anything to head lice. As long as you are human and you have hair, you are fair game! This is good news for your pets though. Head lice live exclusively off human blood so if you find head lice on Fido, they fell or crawled on to him when someone with head lice came in close contact with him. Head lice cannot survive on your dog, cat, or any other pet you may have. They also do not spread diseases (unlike body lice).
So how do you get head lice? Head lice do not fly, jump, or swim. Their only means of getting around is crawling, so head to head contact is the most common way to get head lice although they can also be transferred by shared hats or brushes. Because they feed several times a day, they cannot live long off their host (generally only 24 to 48 hours). Once off your head the likelihood of being able to find their way back to your or someone else’s head is slim, so they will in all probability die.
If you find you or someone in your family has head lice, don’t panic. Yes, it might be embarrassing, but your family is among the millions of people who get them every year. We have yet to get through a year without at least one school in Orange County having an outbreak of head lice. You are not alone!
Okay, you or your family definitely have head lice. Now what? There are many over-the-counter kits that include shampoo and special combs to help get rid of the lice. Wash combs/brushes, pillow cases, bedding, and clothing that the infested person came in contact within the last 48 hours in as hot a temperature as possible without causing damage. Vacuuming to pick up any hair on the floor can also be done, but remember head lice cannot live without a blood meal so they cannot survive on dead hair. Some people and schools opt to have a pest control service done in their home or facility to help guaranty the problem has been resolved, but this treatment would be for peace of mind only. Head lice are considered a health issue not a pest control issue. A chemical treatment of your home or school is not necessary. If you have any questions regarding head lice feel free to call us at (714) 486-2637 or visit the CDC site listed under our Helpful Links.
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Preferred General Contracting & Exterminating Orange County
Office: 714.916.0173 • Fax: 714.274.9867
Offering: Pest Control, Termite Control, Bed Bug Treatment, Bee Service and more…
Located in Fountain Valley, CA