Lice Love Us
The reason why these 0.5 - 0.8 mm invertebrates love us is because they literally can't live without us. If they are removed from the human host, they die in a couple of days due to an absence of food. Their food is exclusively the human blood, which they suck by biting the skin and secreting saliva. Lice are very mobile and they move rapidly. The eggs (called nits) are laid by the female on the root of the hair and because they are attached to the hair with a special saliva, they are hard to remove without special products. A mature female can lay up to six eggs a day and the eggs mature in 8 to 18 days.
There are two body lice species that can infest the human skin :
- The Pediculus hominis, which has 2 subspecies: the head lice and the body lice (Pediculus hominis capitis and Pediculul hominis corporis). The head and body lice are anatomically identical though the head louse is smaller in size.
- The Phthrius pubis (the pubian hair louse).
Both species use their three pairs of legs to attach themselves closely to the human skin.
The head lice look for the warmer regions of the head: behind the ears, the lateral sides of the head and neck, the occipital region. They cause severe itchiness (especially during the night-time).
Body lice can be found on the hems and seams of clothes where they lay their eggs. They can live between skin and clothes and besides causing itchiness, they also "come with" secondary infections. Their bite can be spotted by the presence of a 2-4 mm red papule (swelling).
The pubian louse can be asymptomatic for up to 30 days and if not treated can lead to inguinal inflammations and infections. They can spread using the abdominal or torso hair, and can also be found in the beard or the eye-lashes.
Lice are removed from the human skin using special products and a special comb.