Surprising Facts About Lice

Surprising Facts About Lice

Ancient Lice

Archeologists found a specimen of head lice or known as nits on a human head found at an archeological dig in northeast of Brazil and it is estimated to be at least 10,000 years old which now become the world's oldest known lice. 

Head lice originated in North America and migrated to other parts of the world including Australia and Europe according to the Journal of Parasitology. Scientists believe that there are two different types of human lice i.e. head lice and body lice and they developed from roughly 100,000 BC.

Researchers also found that around 190,000 years ago the head and body life was specially adapted for living on our clothes through the DNA found proving that humans began making and wearing clothes around this time period.

Head lice spreads by direct contact with the infested hair because the head lice feet are able to hold onto human hair. Professor Dale Clayton, a renowned biologist from the University of Utah found evidence that there were two early species of lice and out of it one went extinct and the other infested the kids today.

The fact is head lice can affect anyone at any time and is not related to personal hygiene and they are not dangerous but are a nuisance as they do not carry any kind of disease nor will it lead us to die.

Lice Purpose on Earth

Lice has a purpose on Earth to help conditioning human's "natural" immune system and to reduce the chances of immune dysfunction.

The symbiotic relationship between human and lice is known as parasitism where the lice benefits from the human head for warmth and food.

Lice seems to like clean hair more than dirty hair and it is estimated that 25% of the children population will get lice on their hair sometime in their life. Lice are blood sucking, tiny, wingless parasites which crawl very fast and they do not discriminate based on socioeconomic status.

Lice is plural and the singular form is louse infest an estimated 6 to 12 millions Americans in a year and the head itching is caused by lice saliva.

Pubic lice is generally seen on pubic hair and spread through sexual exposure and it is a very common occurances among the adults. But, if there is pubic lice on a child, then there are chances that the child had been subject to sexual contact, sexual exposure, or sexual abuse (

Lice: Myth vs. Reality

Myth: It is easier to get lice.

Fact: Lice are harder to get because they spread through head-to-head contact.

Myth: It is important to avoid lice because they are dirty and they spread diseases.

Fact: Lice are annoying and they do spread any known diseases. They are also not affected by dirty or clean hygiene.

Myth: Head lice are very strong and can survive many days.

Fact: A blood-meal every few hours and the warmth of the human scalp is very important for lice to survive. They will die within 24 to 48 hours after falling off an individual.

Myth: The lice eggs which are also known as nits can fall off an individual's head. They can hatch and infest another individual.

Fact: Nits are hard to remove because they are glued to the hair. When a baby louse (nymph) hatches, it must have the warmth and food source to survive.

Myth: Head lice infestations can be prevented by cutting a person's hair.

Fact: Infestations of head lice are not dependent on a person's hair length.

Myth: You can get head lice by sitting close to someone who is infested.

Fact:  Head lice do not hop, jump or fly and they spread through direct head-to-head contact. So, you do not get head lice by sitting close to someone who is infested.

Myth: Lice are spread commonly throughout schools.

Fact: It is very rare to get lice at school and it is common to get it from family members, overnight guests and while spending a lot of time playing with friends.

Myth: Hats or helmets cause lice to spread.

Fact: Spreading through inanimate objects and personal belongings contact may occur but it is very unlikely.

Myth: Frequent screenings at school helps children to get treated and prevent the infestation of head lice.

Fact: The incidence of head lice does not get reduced by having regular mass screenings.

Myth: Schools and child care facilities implementing "No-nit" policies successfully able to reduce the risk of head lice.

Fact: Research shows the opposite. "No-nit" policies increase school absenteeism, hinder academic performance, and create negative social stigma instead of reducing head lice.

Myth: Dogs and other pets spread lice.

Fact: Dogs, cats and other pests do not spread lice because head lice is specific to humans only.

Home Remedy

The following are the common home remedies believed to kill the lice, nits, or both because it is very important to eliminate both the lice and their nits. These remedies involve using Anise oil, Olive oil, coconut oil, and tea tree oil. Let us look into each of this oil and the procedure to use it.

Anise is an herb where its seed and oil are used to prepare medicine. According to a study conducted in 2018 to find natural remedies for lice in children, they found that by using anise oil on the head, it will coat and suffocate the lice and it is the most effective natural remedy. (

The same 2018 studies also found that Olive oil offers the same potential benefits by suffocating and preventing the lice from coming back. Those who wish for a highly effective home remedy should think about using olive oil and anise oil together.

A 2020 research ( conducted in Brazil states that pure coconut oil is one of the only effective treatments for head lice to die within 4 hours of application and it kills around 80 percent of lice and apart from that, the coconut oil is also one of the popular treatment for dry skin and hair.

One of the famous home remedies for many skin conditions is Tea tree oil and it due to its antimicrobial properties. Researchers found that the blend of tea tree oil and lavender oil is able to kill head lice when they measure the effects of three treatments in 42 people in a 2010 study (

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