Head lice are tiny, six-legged insects that live on the human scalp. They are white, brown, or gray in color, and are more likely to be found behind the ears than in other places. They feed on a small amount of blood from the scalp and cannot live for more than a day without a blood meal. Head lice lay eggs, which are small, oval-shaped, and white or yellowish-white in color.
While head lice are not harmful to humans, they can be very annoying to deal with. Because they are so tiny, it can be difficult to see them or identify them. The eggs, or nits, are attached to the hair shaft at the surface of the scalp. Head lice are most common in children ages three to eleven, as these kids often share hair accessories with each other. However, adult people who share hair and are in close contact with children are also at risk.
Once you have determined that your child has head lice, you can treat them with over-the-counter or prescription head lice products. During treatment, keep the child away from the affected area. It is important to make sure that the child is not wearing any clothing while the treatment is in progress, and that all clothing is removed and sealed. During the treatment, avoid using conditioners or combination shampoos. You should also wait at least two days before washing the affected areas to prevent the infestation spreading to other areas.