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About Lice

Head lice are six-legged wingless insects measuring between 2-3 millimeters, about the size of a sesame seed. They can vary in color from grayish white to reddish brown and have the ability to adapt their color to their environment.

While they cannot jump or fly, head lice can crawl quickly along the hair shaft. As parasites, they depend on human blood for survival and must have a “blood meal” (at the scalp) every two to three hours to survive.

The female has a lifespan of up to 30 days, during which time she can produce between three and 10 eggs (nits) per day, attaching them to the hair shaft, generally close to the scalp where environments are the warmest.

Nits may look like dandruff but can vary in color from whitish to tan to even reddish brown, making them hard for an untrained eye to recognize and see. (It should be noted that viable nits – those that may hatch and perpetuate the head lice lifecycle, are plump and dark in color.)  They are attached to the hair with a sticky glue-like protein substance which forms a bond that is difficult to break without specialized products and techniques.

Nits hatch approximately 7 to 10 days after they’re laid. Baby lice are known as nymphs, and they become adult lice between approximately 12 to 15 days after hatching. Adult lice mature to about the size of a sesame seed.

Though very small, lice can be seen with the naked eye. Nymphs and nits are even smaller and it may require an expert to identify them with certainty.

Atlanta Lice Removal - Who Gets Lice?Who Gets Lice

The CDC reports that somewhere between 6 and 12 million people in the United States are infested annually.

Children from 3 to 11 years old are particularly susceptible, no one is immune and anyone can get head lice.

All socioeconomic classes are affected.

Some research concludes that girls are more commonly infested, but neither hair length nor personal hygiene is a predictive factor. Lice, in fact, prefer clean hair, since it’s easier to adhere to than oily hair.

No one knows why some people are more prone than others to having head lice, but blood type and Rh factor seem to be elements.

Once someone gets lice, the possibility of getting them again, especially in the short term, has proven to be greater.

Atlanta Lice Removal - Prevent Re-InfestationRemoving Lice and Preventing Re-Infestation

Specialized products that immobilize the live lice and nymphs and then break the bond between the hair and the glue-like substance that holds the nit to the hair shaft must be used. Also, manual nit removal, which is the process of going strand-by-strand through the hair to physically remove the nits, is the only way to ensure head lice are completely removed.

Be careful about products and services that claim to KILL HEAD LICE. Most products (either those utilized by an independent service or those purchased for home use) would need to be placed on the head for an extended period of time in order to actually kill an adult louse or a maturing nymph, and many of the products that do so are toxic in nature. Additionally, research proves that NO product can kill lice 100% of the eggs (nits). The only confirmed way to completely remove a case of head lice in one treatment is to manually remove every louse, nymph and nit!

Prevention is key, and after head lice have been effectively removed, there are ways to help keep them away. Following these preventive measures reduces the risk of re-infestation:

  1. It’s very important that you notify everyone who may have come in contact with the person identified and treated for head lice. THERE TRULY IS NO SHAME IN HAVING HEAD LICE! However, until all those who have been in contact with the person with head lice have been checked (and treated, when appropriate), there is the possibility that the outbreak might continue.
  2. As part of your Elimilice treatment process, we will provide you with a simple checklist of procedures to be performed in your home, in your car and to your family’s personal belongings. There is no need to expend enormous time, energy or money on this exercise since head lice do not live for more than very short periods of time away from the human head.  There is also no need to hire a special “service” to rid your home of head lice.
  3. For children with longer hair, putting the hair up (in a pony tail or braid) and spraying daily with a non-toxic essential oil-based spray are extremely effective preventive measures.
  4. Use of a non-toxic essential oil-based spray or gel is encouraged for shorter hair as well.
  5. Running a superior head lice comb through the hair once or twice a week is a helpful way to stay on top of potential re-infestations or catch a new case in its infancy. In addition, after your treatment by an Elimilice technician, you will be instructed on how to perform a head-check at home, and we recommend that you do so frequently for all family members.
  6. Discourage children and family members from sharing hair tools and accessories (such as brushes, combs, ponytail holders, headbands, etc.), clothes, towels, hats, scarves and similar items.