Head lice are small, tan creatures that live in and on the scalp of humans. They have three life stages: nits, nymphs, and adults. Nymphs are the smallest of these creatures, about the size of a sesame seed. They grow to adulthood in nine to twelve days, and they feed on blood several times a day. Adult lice are usually two to three millimeters in length.
If you suspect that you have a lice infestation, you can check for nits. These tiny shells are attached to the hair shaft, and they are sometimes mistaken for dandruff, dirt particles, or hair spray droplets. The best time to look for nits is after they have hatched, when the infestation is old enough to be more obvious.
Head lice can be difficult to spot, and even experienced parents can miss a lice infestation. Fortunately, there are treatments that will kill the lice and remove the eggs, although some cases may remain in the hair after treatment. If you’re concerned about a child’s head lice, it’s best to seek immediate medical attention.
While head lice are not contagious, they can be spread from person to person, even within the same household. For this reason, it is important to treat your child immediately and educate your children on the symptoms so they can avoid contracting the illness. It is also important to avoid close head-to-head contact at home and at school, as head lice can be passed from one person to another. To treat your child’s head lice effectively, you must treat the nits near the scalp.