Eyelash lice are parasites that infect eyelashes and eyebrows. These little critters are often confused with head lice, but they differ in both appearance and habitat. Here’s everything you need to know about these insects and how to get rid of them.
Where do they come from ?
Eyelash lice are not head lice that have fallen on the eyelashes. In reality it is pubic lice, better known as crabs. These small parasites, also called “pediculosis pubis”, average 1.5 to 2 mm in length and are therefore slightly smaller than head lice, which are 3 mm in size. Nits are sometimes visible to the naked eye.
According to doctors and researchers, they are mainly transmitted during sexual intercourse, but they can also be transmitted through contaminated bedding or bathroom textiles, or through contact with the hands. For example, someone who scratches their genitals and then brings their hands directly to their eyes without washing them may contaminate their own eyelashes. Eyelash lice only affect adults, as they are mainly transmitted during sexual intercourse.
Their life cycle is short, lasting about two to three weeks, and reproduces on the skin of the host. Symptoms include itching, redness of the eyelids, a burning sensation or in severe cases even eyelash loss. Contrary to popular belief, they are not associated with a lack of hygiene, as they can withstand daily washing. The longer the eyelashes, the greater the risk of eyelash lice. So be wary of eyelash extensions, which are a risk factor.
How do you get rid of it?
It is essential to consult a doctor to eliminate these as over-the-counter head lice treatments are generally not suitable for eyelash lice. Treatment may include special lotions or creams prescribed by a doctor. These products are applied directly to the eyelashes or eyebrows and are designed to kill lice without irritating the eyes. Applying an eye ointment to the eyelashes daily for three weeks will suffocate the lice.
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In addition to medical treatment, it is important to wash all sheets, towels and clothing that come into direct contact with lice at a high temperature. Makeup items, especially mascaras and eyeliners, should be thrown away. It is also advisable not to share personal items, such as towels, during and after the treatment. Finally, it is necessary to treat all sexual partners and people living in the same household simultaneously to prevent reinfection.
The greatest risk of eye lice complications is blepharitis. This is a common inflammation that affects the edges of the eyelids, where the eyelashes are located. Although it is usually not serious and does not cause permanent vision damage, blepharitis can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful.
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