If you think you have head lice, you’re probably wondering how long they live. Female head lice lay eggs every two to three days, usually behind your ears or on the nape of your neck. These eggs hatch after about eight to nine days. The life cycle of a head lice is not well understood, but understanding it is essential to effective treatment. Lice treatment involves using lice shampoo and nit comb, and avoiding the sharing of personal items with others.
While head lice cannot jump or fly, they can be easily spread from person to person and from clothing to clothing. This means that you should always wash and dry your clothing and personal items before sharing them. Similarly, you should not use clothes shared with people with head lice, such as hats and scarves. Infested bedding, towels and hair brushes are also great carriers of head lice.
If you’re concerned that your child may have head lice, treat him or her as soon as possible. If your child is in school, it is crucial to notify his or her teacher and principal so that other students in the class can be checked for lice. You can also send letters home to notify affected families of the problem.
Adult head lice live about 30 days, after which they lay up to 90 eggs. These nymphs need a blood meal and hatch into adult lice. Adult lice are 2 to three millimeters long and about the size of a sesame seed.