How Long Does Lice Live ?
The normal life span of the louse is between 30 to 40 days. This includes the start of its life cycle from an egg. This life cycle is also possible only with constant source of food, namely blood. The female louse can lay up to ninety eggs also called nits. These eggs yield nymphs or young lice after about seven to ten days. The adults then live up to a period of 30 to 40 days.
Among the few species of lice, the head louse is the most common infestation seen in young children. For the head lice, as the term indicates, the human scalp is the only source of food. So if lice have not fallen off the human head, they can live up to 40 days. Once they have come unattached however, their life span is only 48 hours at a maximum. Within the 2 or 3 weeks that they live on a human host they reproduce rapidly and cause infestation.
Pubic lice are the other category found on humans. As the term indicates, they are most commonly found in the pubic region but are capable of infesting other parts of the body which have hair – eyebrows and beards included. They are most commonly transferred when body contact takes place. While they can live on human host for around three weeks, without one, they will survive only for around 24 hours.
The next type is the body lice. Poor hygiene is a cause for the body lice infestation. Body lice thrive on dirty clothes and can also live anywhere on the human body where there is hair. They key difference between this type of lice and the previous two is their ability to live even up to ten days without a human host. Their life span however, is the same as the other lice. Within this lifetime however, a female louse can lay around 88 eggs on the human being.
Children are most vulnerable to head lice since they come into contact more often with other children. They share clothes and they come into physical contact (especially heads touching) and therefore are more susceptible to infestation. This does not mean that adults are immune from lice. The children can transfer lice to parents too. It is thus important to apply suitable products to the child’s scalp if he or she is scratching and inspection reveals the presence of lice and nits.
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