Author’s Bio: Ria Ellendula is an incoming college freshman who is passionate about public health and healthcare policy
Lice are parasitic organisms that can live in the hair on your body. They are described as small, wingless insects that feed on blood through your skin. Typically, a louse is as big as a sesame seed and a nit (louse egg) is the same size as a dandruff flake.
Types of Lice
The three most common types of lice are head lice, body lice, and pubic lice.
Also known as “Crabs” due to their crab-like appearance, pubic lice are known to live in the hair of the host’s genital region. They are usually transmitted through sexual activity and can cause itching.
What Causes Lice?
You can identify head lice by simply looking near the scalp. Usually, you will be able to see lice or nits near the scalp of the head. You can run a fine-toothed comb through the hair to catch these lice and nits.
Regularly, nits tend to be brown or darker in color, whereas lice are usually white. One common indicator of nits is the ease with which they can be removed from your hair. Other particles in your hair (such as dandruff flakes or debris) are easily removable, while nits seem to be “glued” to the hair.
Head lice can be treated through prescribed lice treatment or over-the-counter treatments.
Over-the-counter (OTC) treatments typically use two types of chemicals:
For those who wish to treat head lice in a chemical-free manner, there are alternatives available. You can use a fine-toothed lice comb to remove lice. For this, experts recommend that you apply coconut or olive oil to your hair prior to combing. After this, start combing from the scalp all the way through the end of the hair. Repeat this every 2-3 days until all signs of lice and nits are gone.
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