Q:

What is "black lice"?

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Quick Answer

Black lice are more typically known as head lice, which is a type of tiny parasite that prefers to stay on the scalp of humans for warmth. Adult head lice are about the size of a sesame seed and drink tiny amounts of blood for nourishment, notes KidsHealth. Their presence can cause itchy skin irritation, which seems to worsen at night.

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Full Answer

Even though head lice are not known to transmit any disease, it is possible for their host to develop secondary skin infections due to scratching too frequently and too hard. Head lice do not pick their hosts based upon cleanliness, age, ethnicity or hair type. They do not spread by jumping or flying, but rather by people's heads touching or the sharing of bedding, hats, combs and hair accessories, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lice spread most easily among children, especially at school. Once an infestation takes place, lice can survive on a human head for as many as 30 days and lay as many as eight eggs per day, reports KidsHealth. There are a number of over-the-counter treatments for getting rid of the insects available in almost any drug store. It is important to follow their instructions precisely to prevent spreading and reinfestation, recommends the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do you get rid of lice?

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    For children aged 2 and under, parents must manually remove head lice by wetting or conditioning the hair and using a fine-tooth comb to extract the parasites, according to KidsHealth. Older kids and adults have the option to use medicated shampoos and lotions or oral prescription drugs, but the treatment may be ineffective against persistent head lice.

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  • Q:

    How do you know if you have lice?

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    An itchy scalp and back of the neck, crawling sensations, swollen lymph nodes and pink eye are all indications of a lice infestation, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, but Mayo Clinic notes that some people may not have any symptoms. Seeing live adult lice is a sure sign of an infestation. Seeing their eggs, or nits, may not indicate an active infestation, according to Mayo Clinic.

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  • Q:

    Can you treat lice with mayonnaise?

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    According to the CDC, there is no definitive scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of mayonnaise used to suffocate head lice. No evidence exists for the effectiveness of olive oil, margarine or butter to treat head lice either.

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  • Q:

    What do you do about head lice?

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    Apply a medicated shampoo, lotion or cream specially formulated to eradicate head lice to the head as soon as possible after it is confirmed a person has lice, explains KidsHealth. Remove any eggs, called nits, by combing through the hair using a fine-tooth comb.

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