Saturday, May 24, 2008

More about small things

I'd heard about lice. Letters sent home from the schools reporting a case of head lice to all the parents had become more frequent in recent years. But it was always about other kids. Well, with the third child, we were included in this nitpicking trauma. Turns out though, it was great research for my book.

Little lice were a big deal up in the barracks of the Siberian exiles. My mother told of how a sweater moved because it was covered with the parasites. And, unlike bedbugs, lice aren't just an itchy inconvenience. Lice can carry typhus and this disease has killed thousands of people. My grandmother was killed by a louse that probably looked like this. It was a very difficult chapter to write (and re-write) in my book.

Body louse

Here are 12 quick facts about lice:
1. Lice is plural. One lice is a louse.
2. Their eggs are called nits.
3. Lice have no wings.
4. Lice feed on human blood.
5. Lice cause intense itching and red spots.
6. There are three kinds of lice - head, body and pubic.
7. Head lice attach themselves to hair, body lice attach
themselves to clothes.
8. You get rid of body lice by boiling or burning the clothes
or using insecticide.
9. Body lice can carry the typhus disease.
10. 6-12 million Americans have lice annually.
11. Lice thrive in overcrowded and unhygenic living conditions.
12. Lice thrived in the Gulag.

I'll share more about typhus in an upcoming post.

5 comments:

M.P. Barker said...

All I can say is...EWWWW! I feel crawly just reading that.

MPB

Barrie said...

I am sad to report that I know of lice firsthand. That's just a function of having kids in the school system, I guess. :( I can say that we've never had a sweater move, though. I'd call that an infestation of lice!!

Hey, Gabe, guess who I'm meeting for drinks later this evening? Nancy Viau!! She stopped off in San Diego on her way to BEA in LA. :)

gabe said...

Barrie,
Say hi to Nancy and enjoy your evening! What fun.

Moonshadow said...

Gabe, I had originally visited your blog when you posted about your book and I hadn't been back in a while. I thought you might be interested in some of the German/Russian posts I have on my blog...
http://tinyurl.com/6pfboj

gabe said...

Very interesting - thanks for sharing, Moon shadow. I love connecting - the internet is amazing.