Transmission of head lice amongst toddlers and youngsters is frequent and is usually the results of shut and frequent head or hair contact. Toys, furnishings, carpets and clothes can all supply non permanent habitats to lice that can soar on a toddler if the possibility arises – providing head lice the chance to be transferred and to thrive.
But whereas faculties and oldsters typically discuss “head lice outbreaks” the truth is that people have had head lice residing on them for hundreds of years. And they have been so frequent previously that nearly each household was in possession of a particular comb to take away and hold them beneath management or in low numbers.
Our ancestors produced these positive combs utilizing totally different supplies, together with bone, wooden and even cactus spines, to permit a minimal house between the tooth of the comb to take away lice. And as nearly all of individuals in the neighborhood had head lice – not simply infants – these combs have been the primary or solely instruments used to tease or brush the hair.
In reality in Poland within the 1600s, a coiffure generally known as “plica Polonica” or Polish plait, was fairly modern. The model, which resembles a matted mass of hair, shaped as the results of neglect – typically mixed with a extreme head lice infestation – and can be sticky and moist.
The science of head lice
The cycle of head lice begins when a feminine louse lays eggs that are hooked up to the hair by gluing them on the root finish. The lice produce a really robust, cement-like substance to do that.
The place of the newly delivered egg (generally known as a nit) is roughly 5mm from the scalp. This distance can’t be modified, or the embryo won’t develop – as a result of the temperature will not be proper.
During growth, nits comply with a particular regime of temperatures, a slight reducing gradient of temperature because the hair grows and the nits turn into increasingly distant from the scalp. So these nits closest to the scalp are probably the most just lately laid on the hair – and likelihood is these are wholesome residing embryos. Those nits greater than two centimeters away from the scalp look very apparent, with a whitish reflection. These are the empty eggs shells.
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How to eliminate them
Two types of head lice must be definitely thought-about as targets for management: the females and the newly born nits. To take away each types, a positive comb – generally known as lice or louse comb – has been proven to be efficient by way of remedy and prevention of heavy lice infestations.
Of course, pharmacies are usually properly stocked with formulation and options to kill head lice – however there are different pure or non-chemical remedies which will nonetheless be value a strive. Traditional plant cures are nonetheless utilized in continental Europe – for instance, a natural infusion from the chickpea plant. The infusion is constructed from dried beans and is then utilized on the scalp.
In the U.Ok. in Tudor instances, Hyssop’s oil, an fragrant herb was additionally used as remedy for head lice. And Hyssop’s oil continues to be used to regulate lice to today.
Considering the precise temperature wanted for lice eggs to develop – and that drastic adjustments in temperature kills them – new strategies are additionally now being developed to include warmth as a part of common remedy. Investigations on gadgets producing scorching air point out excessive efficacy when correctly utilized regularly.
So to fight head lice with out utilizing messy shampoos and poisonous chemical compounds, mother and father might wish to strive a mixture of remedies: a standard steel louse comb, in addition to natural infusions to use topically on the hair or scalp, together with publicity to brief however common use of a scorching hair dryer.
Alejandra Perotti, Associate Professor in Invertebrate Biology, University of Reading
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