If you’ve ever had head lice, you know that they are small, creepy creatures that crawl across the scalp and feed on your hair. Adult head lice are about the size of a sesame seed, but nymphs are smaller and are blood red, tan, or yellow. Their eggs are tiny yellow or brown dots that are glued to your hair shaft. They can easily multiply and cause an infestation within a week. Lice can also transmit their disease to others through their contacts, so it is crucial to treat your hair immediately.
Medicated head lice treatments are available over-the-counter or prescribed by a health care provider. These products need to be applied to both dry and wet hair and should be rinsed after each application. Medicated products, including shampoos, are most effective if applied to the entire scalp and hair.
Adult lice lay eggs in your hair. The eggs are small and oval-shaped. They are difficult to see and are often mistaken for dandruff or hair spray droplets. Lice can lay as many as 100 eggs during their lifetime. When they are removed, adult lice die within 24 hours. Adult lice lay their eggs on the hair shaft and wait between four and nine days for the nits to hatch. Adult female lice can lay up to 6 eggs per day.
Getting rid of head lice isn’t easy. In some cases, stronger medicines are necessary to kill them. Avoid sharing clothes or things that could spread lice to others. For example, don’t share hats or hair accessories with other kids. Instead, always wear your own hair accessories and sleep on your own pillow to avoid contact with lice.