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Facts About Head Lice

by Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

Head Lice are insects that live on human hair and feed on scalp skin.

Lice are very common across Australia at the moment and are no longer seen as a shameful thing to catch. Here are some facts about lice to help families deal with the problem.

  • Lice can’t jump or fly. Lice move by walking and are only spread between heads when they are close enough that hairs are touching.
  • Sharing hair brushes, hats, dress ups, combs, hair towels, pillows, linen and related items can also give lice access to other heads.
  • Research has shown that lice actually prefer clean hair, so washing hair every day will not prevent you catching lice, and catching lice doesn’t indicate that you are in any way dirty or unclean.
  • Lice lay many eggs - about 200 in their life span. Removing the live lice is only part of the job – the eggs need to be taken out or treatment repeated after 7 days to kill the hatchlings.
  • Lice only live for 24 hours (one day) if they are not in human hair. Thus it isn’t necessary to boil linen and clothes to kill the insects. By the time those items are washed, dried and returned to being worn the lice will have died. Drying things in sun light will also kill any lice and other bacteria on the items.
  • Some local councils offer lice treatment lotions for free from their health departments. Before going there to collect these lotions, call the council. In some cases, the council will only give the lotion if you are accompanied by a child currently infested with lice.
  • Finding lice eggs more than 5 mms from the scalp is ok – eggs that far from the scalp are either empty or dead as eggs don’t last long enough for the hair to have grown that far.
  • There are many species (types) of lice so any one treatment from a chemist may be more or less effective in killing each species
  • Once a child has been identified as having lice, they are allowed back at school/kinder/child care once their hair has been treated.
  • Children with long hair are less likely to get lice if their hair is tied back in a ponytail, or even better, a plait. Soak the hair ties in tea tree oil or rub in a treatment lotion to further reduce the risk of catching lice.
  • Each louse lives for about 40 days and feeds on human blood five times a day.
  • Lice can be present without any itchiness, so regular checks of school children’s hair is a wise move
  • If lice are an issue, prevent scratching being a new problem by keeping children’s nails cut short and encouraging them to not scratch. Consider gloves or socks on their hands at night to stop them scratching in their sleep.
  • Tea tree oil can be added to normal shampoos and conditioners. In this way, lice may be killed before they can lay eggs and cause a problem. This doesn’t completely stop lice attacks, but it may reduce the frequency of them.
  • Eggs are laid 3 mm from the scalp and take 9 days to hatch.
  • Once you have treated your child’s hair, it is best to inform their school or child care centre so that other parents can check and treat their children before the lice become wide spread.


Tash Hughes is the owner of Word Constructions and is available to solve all your business writing problems! From letters to policies, newsletters to web content, Word Constructions writes all business documents to your style and satisfaction.

 Lice treatments from your chemist shop

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It must be acknowledged as written by Tash Hughes of www.wordconstructions.com.au and copyright remains the property of Tash Hughes.

Please notify us of your use of this article or to request information on commissioned articles.


© 2004, Tash Hughes