Head Lice fact sheet (June 2014).pdf - Head Lice Head lice are small parasitic insects that live mainly on the scalp and neck of their human host Only

Head Lice fact sheet (June 2014).pdf - Head Lice Head lice...

This preview shows page 1 - 3 out of 4 pages.

Above: A nit on hair shaft Below: An adult louse Head Lice Head lice are small parasitic insects that live mainly on the scalp and neck of their human host. Only humans get head lice and their presence does not indicate a lack of hygiene or sanitation. If taken away from the human scalp, head lice die within hours. This is because they must feed on human blood every six hours to survive. What do head lice look like? There are three stages in the life cycle of lice - the nit, the nymph and the adult. Nits Nits are eggs that are hardly visible, are often confused with dandruff, and are firmly attached to the base of the hair shaft. They appear oval and generally yellowish to white in colour. They take about seven to ten days to hatch. Nymph Nymphs are baby lice, and look like adult lice but smaller in size. They mature into adults within seven days after hatching and feed on blood to survive. Adult An adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed. A louse has six legs and is light to brown in colour. Females, which are larger than males, lay nits. An adult louse lives up to 30 days on a person’s head. What are the signs and symptoms? In Australia, head lice are mainly an annoyance and rarely cause any significant medical condition. Most head lice infestations cause no symptoms at all, and probably less than half cause an itch. They are more of a nuisance, and often an embarrassment, to those affected. You can tell whether your child has head lice by looking closely through the hair and scalp for nits, nymphs and adult lice. The presence of adult lice and evidence of nits confirms infestation. The nits are tiny white specks often stuck near the root of a hair. You may also notice fine black powder on pillows. This is lice faeces. Other signs and symptoms that may occur are frequent head scratching, tickling, and itching caused by allergic reaction to bites which can become infected. Health Protection Service Population Health Division Howard Florey Centenary House, 25 Mulley Street, Holder ACT 2611 Locked Bag 5005 Weston Creek ACT 2611 Phone: (02) 6205 1700 Fax: (02) 6205 1705 Email: [email protected] Web site:
Image of page 1