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Where Did Head Lice Come From?

25 July
Where did head lice come from?

The Origins of Head Lice

Where Did Head Lice Come From?

The origins of head lice, it turns out, are pretty interesting. As a parent you may be wondering where did head lice come from in the first place? First of all there is solid evidence that head lice have been traveling with humans for at least 170,000 years. Because 170,000 years ago head lice branched off from body lice when humans started to wear clothing. Hence head lice come from the common human lice ancestor that was shared by head lice and body lice some 170,000 years ago.

In addition, although all primate species have lice, humans have a different type of lice from other primates, and this divergence could have taken place up to 5.5 Million Years Ago. Because human head lice, also known as Pediculus humanus is an obligate parasite. Obligate parasites have adapted to survive on only one species. And in the case of head lice this means that head lice can only survive on a human scalp.

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How have head lice been able to survive for so long on humans? First of all head lice are highly adaptable and have been able to develop resistance to the many chemical lice treatments that we humans have tried to use on them them over the centuries. Furthermore some of the pesticidal lice treatments available in 2019 could present lice pesticide health hazards for children.

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Furthermore head lice are widely misdiagnosed

• For example hair casts are a normal product of the hair follicle and are often mistaken for head lice.

• Furthermore individuals with dandruff can be misdiagnosed as having head lice.

• Especially relevant, many parents believe that an itchy scalp is indicative of head lice.

• When in fact the majority of individuals with head lice never develop itching symptoms.

• Because one must receive more than 10,000 lice bites before itching symptoms are possible. In addition parents often mistake a rash on the back of the neck for lice bites.

• When in fact this neck rash is actually an allergic rash to the lice bites on your scalp.

Relax and take a deep breath. Head Lice are manageable.

You can treat lice at home with a good metal nit comb.

If you feel that you need help. Give us a call at NitWits!

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