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Where do head lice and Nits come from?

Head lice are a common problem throughout the world. and are not new. Head lice and nits have been found with the remains of 3000 year old Egyptian mummies.

Head lice cannot fly or jump. However, they can crawl or drop from one head to another. Children and adults generally catch head lice when the head of someone who is infected with head lice comes in contact with another.   Once infected, head lice can then pass to individual, friend or family member.

Head lice will usually die within 24 hours if they are not kept warm or do not have a supply of human blood.

Head lice will not survive outside their natural environment of the human head.  Periods outside their natural temperature will kill nits and head lice.

It is very unusual for live head lice to be found on hats, scarves, combs, brushes, pillows or towels unless they have been very recently used.

Human head lice cannot survive on dogs, cats or other animals.  These are not therefore sources of infection.

The primary method of catching head lice is by head to head contact with an infected person.

Head to head contact is therefore the main issue to avoid. Once an infection has been detected, all efforts should be focused to eradicate the head lice and nits on the heads and reduce head to head, or hair to hair, contact whenever possible.