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What can you do about it?

Proper treatment is necessary to deal with head lice and prevent them from spreading.

While head lice can be frustrating, treatment is a relatively easy process. The key to treatment and eradication of a head lice infestation is to break their life cycle. It is extremely difficult to kill all the eggs present when the infestation is first treated so treatment needs to reoccur as per manufacturer’s instructions.

All other members of the family should also be inspected for head lice and treated if necessary. Do not share hats, towels, pillows and brushes.

Facts Clean vs. Dirty

It is a common misconception that lice prefer dirty hair over clean. In fact, excessive shampooing of your hair removes the natural oils that build up on the hair strands. Not only can this damage your hair, but it actually makes it easier for the lice to attach to the strands of hair. Simply shampooing your hair is not enough to keep Lice away.

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The Life Cycle of Head Lice

A female louse will lay between three to eight eggs (nits) per day in the hair, within 1.5cm of the scalp. These eggs resemble dandruff but cannot be brushed off –

  1. Egg is laid on hair shaft. Egg is called a ‘nit’.
  2. Louse emerges after 6-7 days.
  3.  First moult 2 days after hatching.
  4. Second moult 5 days after hatching.
  5.  Third moult 10 days after hatching.
  6. Emerging from their third moult as adult lice, the female and slightly similar male begin to reproduce.
  7.  Female lays first egg 1 or 2 days after mating.
  8.  Female can lay approximately 3 to 8 eggs per day for the next 16 days.
  9. Having lived 32 to 35 days the louse dies.