You can tell by my first page that I'm a little obsessive.......just a little......when I face a problem.  It's my habit to research the topic to death and as a result I'm usually the local expert on the topic and have people all over my neighborhood calling me for advice.  It's no different with lice.  I decided that to assess my daughter's lice situation and the likelihood that anyone else in the family was to become infected and to do that I needed to fully understand the life cycle of the nasty little louse.  (Stop laughing!)

Let me share what I learned with you in case you are the obsessive type too.  It'll save you hours of researching the internet.

We all know by now that lice don't jump nor do they have wings so a louse has to crawl it's way onto the head via head to head contact or some kind of shared object that comes into contact with the head like a hat, comb, pillow etc.  If a mature female louse has been picked up she will begin to lay 3-5 nits every night.  They lay more at night than during the day.  The egg will hatch somewhere between 7-10 days and a nymph (baby louse) will emerge.  It requires a blood meal within 2 hours of hatching or it will die.  The nymph will not be ready to lay eggs for  7-10 and must be fertilized once by a male to begin laying.   She never needs to be fertilized again and will continue to lay for the rest of her  30 day life span for a total of approximately 100 nits.  You can see why it's important to catch it early....before all these nits hatch and mature to begin compounding the problem exponentially.  Yikes!!

In my Canadian climate it is unlikely that a nit will hatch off of the head but in some tropical climates it is possible for this to happen.  They say that a louse only lives for 12-48 hours off it's human host but I have also read that they can live for up to 4 days.  Who knows....I decided to err on the side of caution where these things were concerned.  I believe I read somewhere in my searching that a nit will remain viable for approximately 2 weeks away from sufficient heat to hatch but I can't remember where I go that information to confirm it at this time.  I believe this is why it's recommended that you bag all stuffed animals and other fabric items that can't be washed for two weeks.  You can also put these items in the freezer for 4 days for the same results.

Did you know that many of the pesticides that we are using on our little children's heads are becoming ineffective against lice.  Did you know that they are dangerous to our children and you can consider your child to have had a pesticide exposure if you use one.  If your child becomes sick and a doctor asks if your child has been exposed to pesticides you will have to say "yes".  They aren't just "shampoos" and "creme rinses", they are pesticides! 

Read about lindane and how dangerous it can be here:

 What is Lindane Anyway?
 Jesse's Story
 The Most Dangerous Medicine

While malathion, pyrethrum and permethrin are not as toxic as lindane there is still plenty of reason to be concerned with using them on the scalp of your child.
Read about them here:

 The Rachel Carson Council On Use Of Malathion
  Lice solutions - pesticides

You can get rid of lice without using pesticides.  I know this absolutely because I did it.  Catching it early is one of THE most important things you can do to get rid of them. 
If you still choose to use a pesticidal solution PLEASE follow the instructions carefully.  Don't leave it on longer thinking it will be more effective and don't use it more often than is required.  Don't use them preventatively.  Don't use them on children under 2 and don't use them yourself if you're pregnant.  Educate yourself so you can decide if the risk is worth it.  Frankly, I'd rather shave all the heads in my family than use these pesticides on them.

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