The head louse is a wingless parasitic insect. In length, an adult louse reaches 2-3 millimeters. Most often, lice are grayish-white and yellowish-brown in color. The head louse lives in the scalp and feeds exclusively on human blood.
Lice and nits
The head louse is one of two subspecies of the human louse. It is relatively harmless. Does not tolerate diseases dangerous to humans. This differs from its closest relative body louse (body lice), which is the carrier of typhus and other types of typhus.
The body louse usually settles on the human body or in his clothes. Hence its name. Head and body lice do not usually interbreed with each other. Although they can do it in the laboratory. Outwardly, they differ little from each other.
A person can still be parasitized by a pubic louse. This unpleasant insect lives most often in the lower part of the body. Pubic louse is a completely different type of insect. It visually differs from head and body lice, does not interbreed with them. In its appearance, the pubic louse is much closer to the lice that infect primates.
Like most insects, lice are oviparous. Females lay 3-4 eggs daily. Attach them at the base of the owner's hair. Lice eggs in medicine are called nit. Nits are a bit like dandruff. They are yellowish-white grains about 0.8 millimeters in length.
The larva, hatched from the nits, is able to suck human blood in half an hour. At the age of 9-12 days, the larvae become sexually mature. Females can live for about a month and lay 150-300 eggs during this time.
Pediculosis and its warning
Human infestation with head lice is called head lice. Infestation occurs as a result of head-to-head contact. Lice are quite nimble insects. They run at speeds up to 23 centimeters per minute, so they can change owners almost instantly. Contrary to popular belief, they cannot fly and jump.
Infection through personal belongings is extremely rare. Head lice can only live long in ideal conditions. For them, it is a human head, where the temperature is right and there is enough food. Outside ideal conditions, the head louse dies within one to two days.
Personal hygiene has no effect on the prevalence of head lice. These insects do not die in water. Not washed off with water and nits. So no one is immune from head lice, regardless of social status and financial situation. According to some reports, head lice prefer clean, healthy hair. In unsanitary conditions, a dangerous body louse feels comfortable.
As noted above, the head louse does not pose a great danger. She does not tolerate infection. But in the places of the bite, severe itching occurs, which causes discomfort in a person. When combing, purulent wounds may appear.
For many years, chemicals containing insecticides have been used to control lice. Now preference is given to drugs with a physical principle of action.