Do Head Lice Eat Your Hair?

While people often think that head lice eat your hair, this isn’t necessarily true. Lice feed on human scalp blood, not on human hair. Instead, the louse uses a suction cup-like tube to attach to strands of hair and pierce the skin to extract blood. Typically, head lice feed on human blood five to six times a day.

Head lice are tiny insects with oval-shaped bodies and six legs. The nits they lay are small and tan, and they can stay stuck to human hair. They can live up to 30 days when they are attached to the scalp, but will die if they fall off. The adult lice are about the size of a sesame seed and will lay eggs on the scalp and behind the ears.

When treating a child with head lice, washing clothing in hot water and air drying on high heat is the best method. However, it’s important not to throw away clothing and items that may have been used within two days of the infestation. Instead, you should store them in a plastic bag to prevent lice from returning. If the infestation persists, you can take your child to a dermatologist for further treatment.

Although head lice can be difficult to see, they are actually extremely small, oval-shaped insects that are easily mistaken for dandruff or scabs. Because of their tiny size, head lice eggs are nearly impossible to spot.

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