Pediculus humanus capitis,
are parasitic insects that feed on human blood and inhabit a hosts
scalp and hair. They are spread through contact, and are most
commonly found in children due to their lifestyle.
There are three stages of life for a hair lice,
Nits, Nymphs, and Adults. Nits are hair lice eggs, which are very
small therefore very hard to get rid of. The eggs are often miss
diagnosed as dandruff or hair spray which leads to accidental spread
to other children, which can lead to a lice epidemic at your child’s
school. It takes approximately one week for a nit to hatch into a
Nymph. This freshly hatched nymph is a immature adult louse, which
matures into an adult in seven days. To survive the nymph must feed
on human blood.
Once matured into an adult, a louse is tanish
gray, approximately one millimeter in length, and has six legs.
Head lice can live up to 30 days on a host and reproduce frequently,
averaging 50 to 150 eggs per female over a 30 day lifespan. If a
louse were to fall off a host in will only be able to live for two
days without blood to feed on. Do not make the mistake of thinking
bedding is safe to sleep on after it was uninhabited for two days,
because there may be eggs on the bed, which take seven days to
hatch. So when treating a case of lice, it is important to treat
the head lice on the patient as well as washing all clothes and
bedding in hot water.