About head lice and eggs

Frequently Asked Questions about head lice and eggs

Where do head lice come from?

Head lice have been around for thousands of years. As with any insect, they learn to adapt to their environment in order to survive. We are never going to be completely rid of them, but we can make managing them easier.

Are head lice a common problem?

Yes they are. Anyone can catch them, but lice are most common amongst children between the ages of 4-11, and especially amongst girls.

Do head lice jump from head to head?

No. Lice do not have the right sort of limbs for jumping or flying, so they cannot jump or fly across clothing; they only move directly from one person’s hair to hair on another head. Sometimes when you are combing or brushing the hair, the electrostatic charge can make lice appear to leap away from the head.

Will very short hair discourage lice?

No. Lice will happily live in hair of 1 cm; the only advantage of short hair is that detection and treatment can be easier.

How do I know whether anyone has head lice?

By finding a living adult louse; a fine tooth plastic detection comb is best for finding them.

Do head lice live in carpets, clothes, hats or sheets?

No. Head lice rarely fall from the head. They require blood to survive. Head lice feed 3-4 times a day and without blood they will dehydrate in 6 hours in a dry climate and 24 hours in a humid climate. An egg requires warmth to hatch and is the reason why they are laid close to the scalp. The further away from the scalp, the less likely they are to survive.

Does head lice infestation come from dirty hair or a dirty home?

Absolutely not. Head lice don’t mind if hair is clean or dirty; and as they cannot live away from the human head, home hygiene has nothing to do with infestation.

My dog has lice. Can I get it from my dog?

No. Head lice are a purely human parasite and cannot infect cats, dogs or other animals. Head lice can only live on human beings so you cannot get it from your dog.