Head Lice – Frequently Asked Questions

As a parent, you probably have many questions about head lice whether your child has an infestation or there has been an outbreak at school, daycare, or facility your child attends.  We hope the information below will help provide the answers you need to understand head lice, prevent, and treat an infestation.

Where do head lice come from?

Human parasites, lice do not originate from the ground or air, and are thought to have been around since time began due to the fact that nits (eggs) and dried up lice have been discovered on the scalps and hair of Egyptian mummies.

How do lice spread from one person to another, and do they jump?

Head lice do not have wings or hind legs, and cannot jump, hop, or fly.  They are spread due to direct contact of the hair or head of someone who has lice, and may also spread through the sharing of hair accessories, brushes, combs, even towels or helmets.  You may worry about pillows, headrests, and other items that come in contact with the head, however keep in mind that 24 hours is about as long as lice can survive when not on a human host.

Does every member of the household need to be treated for head lice?

No, not unless lice are present.  Check each family member using a nit-removal comb, and don’t apply harsh chemicals without considering the potential dangers, especially to young children.  Most lice treatment products are hazardous, and not recommended to prevent a lice infestation.  Thankfully, Littlebugs Hair Care products are natural and contain no dangerous ingredients or pesticides, and can be used as a prevention measure.

What about bedding, rugs, upholstered furniture, stuffed animals, etc.?

Many people believe they need to burn stuffed animals and other items, but this isn’t the case.  The good news is that head lice require human blood to survive, so it isn’t necessary to spray pesticides on bedding or furnishings, or to place other items in plastic bags.  Vacuuming surfaces is sufficient to remove nits or dead, dried up lice from carpets and upholstery.  Wash clothes and bed linens as you normally would, and rest assured head lice are not going to invade your home!  They simply cannot live other than on a human host.

Are nits dead or alive?

The answer here is that it really doesn’t matter, whether on an adult or child.  Your time is better spent removing the nits rather than trying to determine if they’re alive.

I tried a well known OTC product or prescription treatment, but now the head lice are back.  How did this happen?

In most cases, what parents believe are a re-infestation are actually a continuation of the original infestation.  Hair must be combed meticulously with a high-quality nit comb every single day for two weeks to ensure thorough removal of hatched nymphs and nits; otherwise, those left behind will mature and produce more – a continuous cycle.  There are also what are known as “super lice” which have developed a resistance to chemicals used in most products found on store shelves.  Thorough, complete removal is key.

Are shampoos designed to remove lice dangerous?

It depends on the individual, as some have conditions such as cancer, asthma, epilepsy, or other pre-existing illnesses that may be potentially dangerous and increase the risk of using products containing pesticides or other harsh chemicals.  In addition, women who are pregnant or nursing could be more susceptible to possible side effects and therefore should avoid the application of common treatments used to kill head lice on their children or themselves.

What are the active and inert ingredients in head lice products?

In some treatments, solvents such as isopropyl alcohol are used to kill lice.  Manufacturers may use such ingredients as “inert” or what is perceived by the public to be a harmless ingredient, or as an active ingredient.  Unfortunately, some of the active ingredients that are said to destroy head lice are stronger in regards to toxicity than pesticides, and “inert” ingredients should never be assumed non-toxic.

Are natural or non-chemical products effective in eliminating head lice?

Remedies that contain no harsh chemicals or pesticides are always preferred over pesticides.  Ingredients such as neem seed oil, spearmint leaf oil, olive oil, rosemary leaf extract, and others have proven extremely effective in both the prevention of head lice, and eradicating infestations.  However, the most important aspects of any lice treatment are thorough, repeated combing and screening.  If you have had dismal results using pediculicides from local drug stores, we highly recommend you try our products – all biodegradable, natural, and effective.

Have questions not answered above?  Simply give Littlebugs Hair Care a call or contact us, and we’ll be happy to provide you with the information you need to ensure your children and family can be free of the itching, irritation, and frustration of head lice.