Where Do Lice Come from? Causes & Remedies

Where do lice come from? Well, there are many sources or causes of head lice on hair or dogs. This article explains the origin and history of lice and the places where one can pick these cumbersome bugs.

We will also examine the many ways to cure them, including natural remedies for lice eradication. So if you are wondering how head lice are created or where they live in the wild, continue reading below.

Causes of Body & Head Lice

Head lice are small parasites sustained by human blood. They only infect the human head and would certainly not survive outside this environment. The key question asked by many people is ‘what causes head lice?

Head-to-head contact is the main cause of head lice. Personal contact with an infected person is necessary for the transference of infection, and this is common during sporting activities and is the reason why they are rampant in children.

macro of lice and eggs removing by stainless lice comb

It can also spread by sharing contaminated items such as clothes, combs, scarves, hats, brushes, and hair ribbons among other personal items. Head lice can also crawl from couches, beds, furniture, pillow, and carpets to your head, but the risk is very minimal.

Body lice evolved to hitch a ride with humans when we started wearing clothing. Lice feed on our blood and lay eggs in the fibers of the clothes, feeding off both without getting too far from their host.

If you are experiencing lice infestation, you should take your clothes out of your home immediately to prevent re-infestation.

Can Lice Jump of Fly?

No, lice can neither jump nor fly. They cannot live for prolonged hours – a maximum of 24 hours after they fall from the host’s head. Head lice depend entirely on their host for survival.

Do lice jump from head to head? No, these creatures can only spread from one person to another by crawling since they cannot fly or jump.

They have claws which they use to grab onto the hair and personal items such as clothes, hats, and scarves from where they can move to the next host for survival. Also, it is worth knowing that head lice cannot walk, swim, hope, or even fly.

Signs of Head Lice

Head lice signs and symptoms can go unnoticed for several days in many persons. On signs of head lice, Mayo Clinic provides several common signs and symptoms that signal head lice infection.

These signs include:

  • Itching

Itching is usually the initial symptom of head lice infection. You are likely to experience itching on areas around the ears, back of the neck, and the scalp in general.

However, for initial lice infection, itching may not occur for weeks after infestation. Some people can also develop tolerance to itching in subsequent infection.

  • Spotting a live louse on the scalp

Even though they are difficult to spot by necked eyes; they can be easily seen when you use a comb detector. Detecting a live louse is the sure way of confirming active head lice infection.

  • Presence of nits on hair shafts

Nits on hair shafts and closer to the scalp are also a sign of head lice infection.

Even though nits are microscopic and difficult to notice, it is possible to spot a bunch of incubating nits in areas around the ears and the back of the neck- this environment ideal environment to thrive.

Head Lice Eggs Treatment

Head lice eggs treatment is usually difficult than head lice treatment for several reasons.

  • First, unlike head lice, nits are tightly held onto hair shafts by special glue. This makes it difficult to comb them out of your hair.
  • Secondly, hair nits have a hard coating that makes it difficult for treating substances to penetrate and kill the larvae.

No known insecticide or lice remedy is capable of killing head lice eggs. However, they are usually killed on the second application of treatment.

Several remedies including spray and lotions are approved by FDA to treat hair nits. These medicated lotions and sprays are effective nit-elimination agents in all types of hair.

These treatments can be purchased over the counter from supermarkets, pharmacies, and online drug stores.

In most cases, lotion and spray kits come with fine-toothed lice comb for removing eggs and dead lice. Repeat application is necessary to kill newly hatched lice.

Always check the park labels on how to use the substance and also to establish active ingredients and whether the treatments are suitable for your condition.

For those who do not prefer treatments with chemicals, they can use a detection comb – a special comb designed to comb out nits and live head lice from your head. These combs are also available in drug stores, supermarkets, and online stores.

American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of metal combs as opposed to less effective plastic combs. While it is important to follow instructions, general guidelines demand that you:

  • Use the comb for both dry and wet hair, but wet combing with conditioner is usually the best way if you want to get rid of hair nits and head lice.
  • Remember to comb the entire hair from the roots to hair ends
  • Combing should be repeated daily or after a few days for two weeks.

Lice & Nits Removal Products

Head lice treatment products include conditioner to shampoos and special combs. These are currently available in the market today.

A look at Amazon, Walmart, and Walgreen stores reveals several products including Licefree spray, Rid kits, Nix Family Park, Vamousse lice treatment, and Cozy Boo products.

Others include Lyclear brands, Nitty Gritty, Hendrin, Derbac, and Full mark spray which are effective for Lice (nits) removal. Most of these kits have conditioner, shampoo, and lice combs for the removal of lice and hair nits.

Always look for approved ingredients in your products such as pyrethrins which are found in Nix products; Permethrin lotion such as Nix;  Benzyl Alcohol Lotion which is present in Ulesfia lotion; Ivercmectin lotion rich products like Sklice; malathion lotions in Ovide and Spinosad or Natroba.

Lindane product is a type of organochloride recommended for second-line treatment for lice and nits removal.

Natural Remedies for Lice

Most products found over the counter such as pyrethrins-rich products, ivermectin lotions, lindane, and malathion have harmful chemical substances for human health.

They are particularly inappropriate for small kids, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, and HIV-positive people.

The good news is that natural remedies for lice treatment and prevention have proved to be effective in treating lice and nits.

Specifically, homeopathic lice treatment, organic lice treatment, and head lice repellant are some of the most effective natural remedies for lice treatment and prevention.

The following section describes some natural remedies for lice and nits treatment and prevention.

Homeopathic Lice Treatment

It is also possible to treat lice and hair nits using homeopathic lice treatment approaches. Homeopathic methods of lice treatment are also suitable for chronic- recurrent and unending cases and also for acute lice infection.

The essence of homeopathy is to help the kid to become naturally resistant to future lice re-infestation. Staphysagria is the main remedy used in recurrent and acute lice infections.

Funny enough, this remedy provides victimhood feelings of lice infection in the child’s mental symptom picture. Consequently, the child can suppress emotional feelings and sensitivity associated with lice infections.

It is important to find the right remedy capable of supporting and healing the susceptibility of the child to lice infestations as this would enhance their resistance to several rounds of lice infections.

This approach is time-consuming, but would certainly strengthen your child and replaces common nasty chemicals present in most treatments for head lice.

Alongside homeopathy, physical support is needed to eliminate the current crop of lice. This may involve using natural remedies that are free from dangerous chemicals.

They include almond oil and olive oil used together with essential oils such as tea tree oil.

These oils are mixed and used to smother the hair, then wrapped into a towel or shower cap. The mixture will certainly suffocate the lice if left for about eight hours.

After waiting time, comb out suffocated and slow-moving head lice as well as loosened eggs or nits from the hair.

Take your time to comb carefully and thoroughly to completely free the hair off the lice and nits. Finalize by washing the hair and repeat the process after two weeks.

A two-week cycle is imperative in getting rid of any hatched nymphs from the hair thus breaking their life cycle.

Organic Lice Treatment

These are natural remedies for nits and lice treatment and prevention- commonly used by people who do not want chemical-staffed products for lice removal.

The recent outbreak of lice resistance to common medications has necessitated the need for homemade natural remedies for lice treatment and prevention.

Remember that any substance applied to the skin is absorbed directly into the blood system within seconds and could be a health hazard.

As stated above, organic lice treatment is a concoction of essential oils such as tea tree oil and base oil like almond and olive oil. This process has been extensively explained in the last part of homeopathic lice treatment above.

Head Lice Repellent

According to the Head Lice Center, it is possible to prevent head lice by using essential oils. Besides, DIY lice prevention and treatment spray also works effectively as a natural remedy.

Essentially, head lice are usually attracted to human smell; hence masking could potentially retain them on their current host and will not spread to new hosts.

A variety of essential oils have natural repellant properties that work by making the human body unattractive to head lice. The following oils have shown some degree of repelling lice thus preventing any future attack:

  • Geranium and clove
  • Lavender and olive oil
  • Tea tree essential oil
  • Cinnamon leaf oil.

Lice Origin FAQs and Facts

Many people seek answers concerning the origin of lice. Since the queries vary from one individual to another, it is necessary that we have this section where we answer the frequently asked questions.

Can lice go in your brain?

No. Lice are external parasites, meaning that they live exclusively on the outside of your body.

However, lice can infest their host animal in large numbers and this happens in three different ways:

  1. By crawling to inner regions (such as the ears or under the wings) in an attempt to find a good spot;
  2. If they are accidentally ingested because one attempted to eat food with live lice on it; or
  3. When people who have highly infested hair touch other parts of their body without having washed thoroughly enough after treatment with over-the-counter medication.

For humans, head louse eggs hatch 6-10 days after being laid onto human hair. The nymphs may remain close to the scalp until they mature.

What is the purpose of lice on earth?

Head lice don’t play a major part in the ecology, as we’d expect. Other, prettier creatures provide more benefits to our life such as pollination of plant flowers done by bees, serving as food for other animals, and entertainment.

Lice don’t exactly rank with dragonflies and butterflies as appealing insects. When considering the purpose of lice on earth, perhaps a fresh approach is required.

Adaptability is something we take for granted until we see it in action in plants and animals from all over the world. We should be able to learn something from the way head lice have adapted to their new environment.

How are lice born?

Explaining how lice come to be can lead to misconceptions of the occurrence process. The truth is that lice are not born.

Instead, they hatch from eggs – made up of blood and fecal matter – which are laid on hair or close to it. They survive for about 30 days on average.

Are head lice parasites?

Yes, head lice are parasites, specifically a form of ectoparasite, meaning they live on the head. Head lice cannot live below the neck or survive without human blood.

This makes them a non-parasitic organism because they do not often feed off other animals and do not have adaptations that allow them to live without humans.

However, should an infestation take place for an extended period of time, it can be left untreated and result in secondary infections.

Are lice asexual?

No, lice are not asexual. Lice lay eggs, in the shape of small white ovals that attach to hair shafts close to the scalp or behind the ears. These eggs are called nits when they are very near to hatch – usually within one day of being laid.

Can lice live on animals?

No, it has been shown that lice can only survive on human hair. Lice are highly dependent on the warmth and nutrition of their host’s scalp, which is why it is difficult for them to live outside of a human host.