Talk:Head louse

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Um, nice[edit]

This article is very well done! 68.3.214.66 (talk) 17:30, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Head lice in bedding & clothing[edit]

"Head lice are normally spread by close contact but can also be spread by sharing clothes."

"Head lice does not survive in bedding and clothing, so it is generally safe to use these items."

Contradiction. Besides, I know somebody who got lice from a pillow (yes, it was definitely the pillow, not something else). Unless there are any objections, I think I'll remove the second statement. -[[User:Frazzydee|Frazzydee|]] 04:39, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)

They can not survive for more than 48 hrs. This is a fact. They obviously can be spread from a pillow to the human head if in fact a person with lice slept on that pillow within the 48 hours. The lice can also be spread by clothing if the item is being shared from one person to another. Ex. When kids are playing a sport and they trade pennies (jerseys that are worn when scrimmaging) They can transfer from that jersey to another human head very easily.

That louse would be near death. Lice can't survive long without a host. A professor of mine mentioned that it is very rare to find lice in places other than the host, due to its distance from nourishment (ie. blood). I believe he mentioned an observation where out of a school full of lice-infested kids, only one louse was ever found in children's hats/clothes. -- Permafrost 09:33, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Comic Fame[edit]

Congrats everyone, headlice wikipedia mentioned on questionable content comic today

Symptoms[edit]

I've deleted some grossly unaccurated claims in the symptoms area like the ones which said that the head louse does not carry pathogenic agents, and replaced it with its potential diseases, although I fear the symptoms section may not be the best part for this information to be...Syber 03:54, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Life span[edit]

Well, does anybody know how long a head louse normally lives without eating? It may only lives half a day? more than at least 3 days? I think all the closing and pillow debate can be cleared when we know it. like if a head louse lives one day after it fell on a pillow, then the pillow is safe 24 hours after it fell on that pillow.


Thanks to the joy of having children I have far more knowledge about this subject than I like to: Head lice can survive about 48 hours away from their host so the pillow is NOT safe after 24 hours. The easy remedy is to put the pillow etc in the freezer for 4 hours or more (I don't have the required temp at hand). Cloth should washed at 60 deg(celcius) or more for at least 20 minutes.Trust me,my three children had lice.they gave it to my husband and i as well.boo hoo.

Treatment section moved to new article[edit]

The Treatment section here was a mess. It consisted of an awkward list of different products/techniques, nearly all of it unsourced (a few looking suspiciously like wikispam). The last section (The Ultimate Technique) was badly written, unverifiable and probably original research. Rather than try and totally rewrite the section I've simply moved it to Treatment of human head lice so it can be improved without affecting the quality of this article. I think it's a complex enough topic to warrant a separate article anyway. --Bk0 16:57, 31 July 2005 (UTC)pi0o[op[][

Dirty Hair vs. Overclean Hair[edit]

I've heard from one side that head lice is the result of poor sanitation, while I've also heard that head lice prefer extremely clean environments. This is fairly disputed, and I'd appreciate it if Wikipedia made the final decision. —MESSEDROCKER (talk) 03:46, 30 October 2005 (UTC)iuy09o

WP does not make decisions, it cites scientific/reliable sources...but to my best knowledge it seems that the chance of infestation is neither helped nor hindered by the frequency of washing your hair and such. Lice will take any head they can get, they are not actively "jumping" or such anyway. However lice may spread less in a generally health concerned neighbourhood because, well, because people care...so there may be a non-causal correlation ;-)
so 1) head lice is the result of poor sanitation: No
2)head lice prefer extremely clean environments: No --84.159.169.175 01:32, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

I would assume due to the way they move, that greasy hair would be harder to crawl around on, and also attach eggs to 87.254.91.188 (talk) 18:59, 6 January 2016 (UTC)


(Below this is an edit by Rob Besh'steel in attempt to answer above question)

In my opinion based on my life's observations I believe that the natural oils in human hair that in many modern day societies is viewed as something that must be washed out with shampoo in order to maintain a good personal hygiene can help prevent head lice infestations as the natural oil is a more difficult environment for the head lice to thrive in. Rob Besh'steel (talk) 22:26, 26 February 2017 (UTC) 97.113.241.110 (talk) 22:23, 26 February 2017 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 97.113.241.110 (talk) 22:09, 26 February 2017 (UTC)

Is it true?[edit]

I have been told many times that tieing hair back in a ponytail can be a method of prevention for headlice. I was wondering if anyone had any proof of this as I cannot see how it would be easier for a louse to jump onto someone's hair if it was not tied back, as opposed to it being down loose. Thanks.

It's true according to the NHS. No explanation though. http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/articles/article.aspx?articleId=186&sectionId=3241 Dcminter 20:33, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

lice cant jump.

It can't be. in colonial times everyone had lice and wore hats to keep lice to themselves.the more lice, the cooler.hats arn't differen't than pony tails are they?--172.146.116.206 01:08, 6 July 2007 (UTC)Maddie


I've always heard that black people don't get lice because their hair is greasy...NOT TRUE. My friends son is half black and his hair is NOT greasy. He had lice so bad, they had to not just shave his head, they bicked it!!! Although I have had head lice as a kid, and have 3 kids and 3 nephews that have had it more then...MAN...they all take baths everyday and have clean hair. Hearing my whole life that "dirty's" don't have it, it's the clean hair that does seems very true to me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 64.5.67.61 (talk) 04:21, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Larkspur link[edit]

What exactly does larkspur have to do with head lice? If there is no info link, then out goes the wiki liknk. --SigPig 18:23, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

In Popular Culture[edit]

Since other articles have lists of mentions in pop culture, how about the humorous mention of it in Scrubs, the christmas episode (can't remember which season), where after Dr. Cox switches a tape of a childbirth to one that has hair, and J.D. and Dr. Cox say that they shaved the baby because of the recent outbreak of prenatal lice -- it'd be a good mention :-) 68.84.23.105 19:55, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

why, i've had lice for years,they're frinds!Popular ones!


p.s. that was a lie and a joke.

                               maddie

Very slight format nitpicking (no pun intended)[edit]

Under "Treatments that may work but need further research", there seem to be three sections, but it's not clear whether "Conditioner" should be a fourth one or not as it's clearly not related to head shaving. I'm tempted to create a new section for it, but thought I'd check here first. Just seemed to be something that might have been put in recently and maybe not completely wikified. :) Lihan161051 17:46, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Sounds like an advertisement[edit]

The lousebuster section reads like an advertisement, but I didn't want to tag it due to not knowing whether it's currently commercially produced, in which case it may have been planted, or whether it's not yet out, in which case it's just coincedence (and I may be overly paranoid/sensitive) =p. Themania 08:48, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

It read like that to me too. I think it woudl look better if there was a proper citation of the article itself. The word "Proven" always makes me skeptical.NBeddoe 10:10, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

It is an advertisement[edit]

I've done a reasonably exhaustive Google search and the only material I could find about this gadget appears to be quoted from a press release without any checking. A search on The Journal of Pediatrics site (http://journals.elsevierhealth.com/periodicals/ympd) for "Louse Buster", "LouseBuster", "Lice Buster" or "LiceBuster" returns no results. A search for head lice only returns information about established treatments and has no mention of the product despite the press material stating that University of Utah tests were published in that journal. I'm taking it out. Of course, if the contributor can provide a citation from a reputable journal with details of tests demonstrating its claimed efficacy, I'd be happy to see it back. NBeddoe 21:40, 27 March 2007 (UTC)


As a parent of 3 girls with very long hair, who had all gotten head lice, I spent alot of money on all different products to remove head lice and there nits. The lice Buster is all but a simple long pronged, steel, very closed pronged nit comb that you can buy at any drugstore it cost about $30 Canadian, but it would be one of the best products to buy it removes everything from nits and lice to tiny particles of dirt and debree that you can not see until you rinse the comb in a cup of hot water. every product that I had used could not get all the nits out but this comb had gotten every last one out. Now to warn you your child might not like it very much because it does pull alot of hair out at the same time. midr Canada May 2007

Black and white[edit]

Quick question.. i've heard this lots of times in the past but not sure that its true but...

Are black peoples headlice different to white peoples?

I heard it explained that its due to the shape of the folicle shaft and the make up of the lice's legs.. but cant find any info on it.. so i'm thinking its not true and one of those urban myths. Just wondering if anyone can clean this up--Nasher 20:45, 11 April 2007 (UTC)


I have read, as Nasher reports, that it is due to the shape of the hair follicle and the louse's ability or inability to grip the hairshaft. As an elementary school nurse I have seen many cases of head lice over the years and have NEVER seen a case of head lice in a black person with the very kinky type of hair, which seems to add creedence to this idea.Camra 23:31, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Vandalism ?[edit]

See the history of the article: 00:38, 7 April 2007 70.118.76.144 (Talk) (→Symptoms) 00:39, 7 April 2007 70.118.76.144 (Talk) (→Symptoms) These edits introduced the idea of blood in the urine. Can this be substantiated (reference?)

The idea of hair-loss seems unlikely. Reference?

'natural cures' on this and Treatment of human head lice[edit]

I'm sick of reverting the an addition from User:Dserhal that just consists of a paragraph about this website, which is totally unreferenced. Will someone else tell me if this is at all relevant and verifiable, or should I leave it alone? Cornell Rockey 15:19, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Response to Cornell Rockey re:'natural cures' on this and Treatment of human head lice[edit]

First, there is more than one paragraph (see below). Second, you are assuming that I am spamming when I am not. There needs to be information about natural cures on the Head Louse and Head Louse treatments pages. These are important to people. How would I know? Well, all you have to do is do a quick google search and you will find many small start-ups selling natural cures. There is a market for them and people need information on them.

There needs to be information about head lice treatments (be they natural or other) because people are counting on Wikipedia for it. Period. There are unfortunate people who have contracted head lice and need information before they run off to just any website and buy products. They need to be informed of possible allergic reactions (see below) or medical contraindications that are applicable to the use of these treatments.

I will be adding information as I attain more on natural solutions and their efficacy.

Can you please reference your credentials concerning head lice treatments? Are they relevant and verifiable concerning the treatment of head lice?


Here is the actual (2 paragraph) addition:

Natural solutions[edit]

Natural solutions permeate the Internet and are also sold in some retail stores. Their effectiveness is not always supported by research studies. There are a group of medical facilities that rank treatments and they seem to continuously update their findings for efficacy of natural treatments.

Natural treatments are being sought by concerned caretakers due to the possible harmful effects that are caused by pesticide-based head lice solutions. Natural solutions are generally made up of ingredients that are grown or produced naturally by plant or floral life. When using these type of treatments be aware of possible allergic reactions. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dserhal (talkcontribs)

Shaving Head[edit]

This article directly contradicts one of it's source where it says that you don't need to shave all of the hair... just down to 1 inch or less. The article cited says "Short hair is more readily searched for lice and eggs, but does not make the child invulnerable to infestation." Also, the Treatment of human head lice page specifically says the opposite as well, "A completely shaven head is necessary, a mere buzz cut is not sufficient." I propose this be changed or the entire treatment area be removed. Fixedd 04:57, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

Symptoms[edit]

According to information on the United States Center for Disease Control's website, "epidemics of typhus and louse-borne relapsing fever have been caused by body lice," not head lice, as shown in the 'Symptoms' section of the current article. 208.59.121.56 17:06, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Another picture[edit]

It would be helpful if there was a picture of a human scalp with lice on it so that people could know what to look for if they think that they have lice. I put a request for it at Wikipedia:Requested_pictures/Science#Insects. Cooljeanius (talk) (contribs) 21:17, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Nuvo method[edit]

I'd suggest that some discussion of the Nuvo method http://nuvoforheadlice.com/ is warranted. It's results seem to have been published in a peer reviewed journal, it is non-toxic and is currently the recommended procedure at my doctor's office. Jamesvera (talk) 06:37, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

This article is somewhat substandard[edit]

I worked on some formatting issues. The footnotes could be vastly improved by using the proper templates. I will commit myself to improving this article, as it is probably widely used. Ursasapien (talk) 11:15, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

I reformatted all the footnotes and moved most of the treatment stuff to the treatment article. I also put a link to that article under the treatment section in this article. Ursasapien (talk) 08:22, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

POV evident in No-nit policy[edit]

This section seems to be written with a particular sympathy for parents of children with headlice subject to exclusion from school, child care etc and clearly advocates the abandonment of this policy, adding a nice touch of emotion in claiming "The immediate expulsion of children from a camp, kindergarten or school must cause significant damage to their self-esteem and also upsets and embarrasses their parents." A little more balance is needed. Grimhim (talk) 11:47, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Good catch! This article has languished for a while and there are probably more examples of emotive writing, WP:OR, and WP:SYNTH. Ursasapien (talk) 12:29, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
BTW, Do not forget to update Treatment of human head lice when updating this article. Ursasapien (talk) 12:01, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Ancient lice - Use in archaeogenetics section[edit]

This section is written authoritatively (and relatively well) but has no sources. This makes it appear to be original research. Citations would be greatly appreciated. Ursasapien (talk) 12:16, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Now there is a source, but I can't read the article (it was only available to subscribers to the original magazine). This article says that typhus isn't carried by the head louse, but by Humanus humanus. Should this section even be in the head louse article? IAmNitpicking (talk)

where is any reference to Zinnser 'Rats lice & History' ? Why do we have a section called Archaeogenetics which makes no reference to the work of David Reeds team in Florida ?

There is now a publicly available review article here:<http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1567134814000203> — Preceding unsigned comment added by 0poponax (talkcontribs) 11:51, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

Jumping headlice[edit]

The talk page and the article contradict each other- do they jump or not? The answer being "No", and there being no source to the contrary, I have edited this out. We need something on transfer of the insects. Jess xx (talk) 21:51, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

mergefrom treatment of human headlice[edit]

The article Treatment of human head lice is almost verbatim the Treatment section of the Head lice article and its existence is redundant. Valley2city 05:02, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

I support a merger from treatment of head lice or whatever it is called to this article. 216.54.60.249 12:33, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

I think that this article should be primarily about the subspecies Pediculus humanus capitis. I think Zebra danio is a good example of a well-written article about an animal species.

I think that all of the information about treating the medical condition known as "head lice" or "pediculosis" should be moved to the article Treatment of human head lice, which should also be retained. This article should contain a link to the other article.

I think that articles on treatment of medical conditions can be kept separate from articles about animal species and subspecies. In the short term, removal of treatment information and incorrect or questionable information would reduce this article to a stub. That's OK. An expert will come along to add information to a proper stub. --72.94.157.91 15:56, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

I concur completely. I will work at making a summary of the treatment section and merging the bulk of the information into the treatment article. Ursasapien (talk) 11:18, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
Done! I have moved much of the treatment stuff to the treatment article (which was also in poor shape). I hope an entomology expert will add to this article. Ursasapien (talk) 08:21, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree that there should be two separate articles pertaining to head lice. I'd like to see the Head louse remain, as you say, an animal article -- an article about the insect. And then have a separate article, for example, Pediculosis be about the "disease" of head lice infestation -- an article from the medical perspective. I'm not sure the information in Treatment of human head lice needs to be a separate article. Perhaps it could be merged with Pediculosis. But in any case, that information and/or perspective would remain largely separate from the head louse article.
I would point out that Pediculus humanus capitis is an obligate parasite, so its biology is intimately linked to its host. That relationship merits careful discussion in the animal article, Head louse. But again, this could be framed from the perspective of the animal's biology, rather than the pathophysiology and epidemiology of the pediculosis disease. Noca2plus (talk) 07:28, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
The issue with the Pediculosis article is that it is a combination of all three types of louse infestations, whereas head louse infestation and the treatment thereof are very specific. Ursasapien (talk) 02:26, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
You make a good point. At present there is no article dedicated to "Pediculosis due to Pediculus humanus capitis" -- ICD-10:B85.0[1]. And this not to say that the more general diagnosis "Pediculosis and phthiriasis" -- ICD-10:B85 [2] shouldn't also have its own article. In fact, I think the comparisons made in the present Pediculosis article are important.
If I can rearticulate my original point, I believe it will be difficult to simultaneously revise Head louse according to the guidelines of both WP:MED and WP:ARTH. My preference would be to revise Head louse according to WP:ARTH and use a separate article to satisfy WP:MED. Whether that latter article should reside at Peduculosis or not is probably best discussed at the Peduculosis talk page. Noca2plus (talk) 23:56, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

0.8 mm[edit]

"Each egg is oval-shaped and about 0.8 mm in length." I'm not a Wikipedia:Reliable source, but the eggs on my daughter are more like 0.2–0.4 mm. I didn't notice the eggs during the first week, because I was looking for something about 0.8 mm. Art LaPella (talk) 05:13, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

prefer human blood types?[edit]

Is the rumor that headlice prefer certain human blood types (or other genetic human variant) attested to at all? 71.59.220.46 (talk) 08:22, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Meinking and Taplin talk about this in their "Infestations" entry in Pediatric Dematology (1995). Based on their lack of references, it seems like this work hasn't been published elsewhere. They suggest that the blood type preference is based on past blood types the lice have previously consumed. For example, they found that lice reared exclusively on hosts with O positive blood would then avoid feeding on an O negative host. However, no such preference was seen in newly-hatched lice nymphs. I'm not sure this is much more than an anecdote, so I'm not sure if it's worth incorporating into the article. Meinking and Taplin also mention a study by Sholdt Holoway and Fronk (1979) where infestation of Ethiopians correlated with blood type (AB being 7-fold more infested than O). I don't have that other ref though. Noca2plus (talk) 22:31, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Lice and African hair[edit]

"lice have problems attaching to africans because of the kinky hair." [from the Migration section] This is at best an urban myth, at worst a (poor attempt at a) joke, right? I stuck a "citation needed" tag on it but the sentence should probably be deleted: I just don't know enough about the subject to be sure that it is incorrect! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gordoni (talkcontribs) 21:12, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

Two asian girls and this caption - WHAT?[edit]

It was recently suggested[27] that humans express love by touching their hairy scalps together (a behaviour absent in apes) so as to share their beneficial head lice infestations. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 27.32.194.196 (talk) 06:29, 20 April 2012 (UTC) Seconded by me: who can seriously believe that itching headlice infestations can POSITIVELY INCENTIVISE people to touch heads? Or who would seriously suggest that this is even a plausible or partially complete explanation of this behaviour? This nonsense just makes me feel doubtful about everything else on the page, and further, on Wikipedia. I suggest for someone to do some digging & find out who edited this rubbish in, and what other edits they've been doing...Matthew Slyman (talk) 19:11, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

The short term positive incentive is that it feels good, like other grooming or a hug. Why don't you read the reference paper, which is online? Head lice probably protect against body lice which carry typhus and so on. Evolutionarily that's worth some itch. Some people don't even have itch. SBHarris 20:39, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
In fact I deleted the entirety of this. There is no known benefit of lice. --209.188.46.174 (talk) 01:51, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

File:Male human head louse.jpg[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Male human head louse.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on June 6, 2014. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2014-06-06. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page. Thanks! — Crisco 1492 (talk) 06:55, 21 May 2014 (UTC)

Head louse
A male head louse, an obligate ectoparasitic insect which spends its entire life on the human scalp and feeds exclusively on human blood. It is one of three louse species which infects humans, along with the body louse and the crab louse. Head lice infestation is widely endemic, especially in children, and treatment of such infestations is not 100% effective; the lice themselves, however, are not disease vectors, and it has been suggested that they are beneficial to the body.Photograph: Gilles San Martin


Archeogenenetics[edit]

What does this tidbit on typhus have to do with head lice? It doesn't mention lice at all, and by the article's beginning's words, head lice don't carry typhus anyway. IAmNitpicking (talk) 14:46, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

How can Wikipedia lie not saying it is an ENDOPARASITE?[edit]

These insects dive into the skin. They swim in Human tissues and reproduce inside the body. They sometimes surface but mainly they remain under the skin forming bumps. They travel throughout the body and do not stay put. When they die inside sometimes a pop can be heard. They are also known as dandruff. Rastah and Africans consider them medicinal and remedy against hearing voices in the head from Humans and also contradictorily as the means to be connected by voices to specific individuals who can be located by killing the parent insect (producing a pop in the infected Human). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 4.35.92.11 (talk) 23:04, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

Just for the record, the preceding is totally incorrect, unsourced, and mythological. Paleolith (talk) 17:52, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

Confusion[edit]

In the article it states that a head-louse has a lifespan of 30 days, but then later goes on to say that they can survive 48 hours on furniture, etc. Is this both true either way, or does it mean they breed during the 48 hours and it's a family? 87.254.91.188 (talk) 18:57, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

No contradiction. They can survive about 48 hours without feeding, and since they only feed on humans, they can only survive about 48 hours on furniture. (The implication of course is that in that 48 hours they have no opportunity to migrate back onto a human head. Such a migration is one of the ways that lice spread from one person to another.) As long as lice are on a human head, they feed regularly and survive up to 30 days.
It's like saying a human has a lifespan of about 80 years, but can survive on a desert island (no fresh water) for about a week, or on an island with water but no food for about a month. Paleolith (talk) 17:58, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

instructional sentences removed[edit]

I deleted the sentences

Head lice are not easily contagious, but it is possible in adults. Exposure or association to a contaminated individual for more than 10 minutes results in an 85% chance in becoming exposed. If you are contaminated with head lice for more than 24 hours without using lice shampoo, it is almost certain you are infested and need to quarantine and remove yourself from your living space.

which were added anonymously last Nov 28. If these belonged anywhere, it would be in the "infestation" article. However, the statements are unsourced, and are instructional in nature, even written in the second person. Thus I have not even investigated adding them to the other article.

Paleolith (talk) 18:12, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

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