Head Lice

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Head lice are very small brownish-colored insects that live on the head. They lay their eggs (nits) close to the scalp. The eggs are gray or white in color. They are stuck to the hair like glue. Anyone can get head lice.

The symptoms of head lice are:

  • itching of the head and neck.

  • Look for: crawling lice in the hair. The eggs that are glued to the hair, often found behind the ears and at the back of the neck. Scratch marks from the itching they cause.

Lice are spread by direct head-to-head contact with the hair of an infested person. They can't jump or fly. They crawl and can fall off the head. Head lice do not live longer than 48 hours off the head. Eggs do not hatch if they fall off the head. Head lice feet are specially adapted for holding onto human hair. They would have difficulty attaching to smooth or slippery surfaces like plastic, metal, and similar materials.

If you find head lice in your child's hair, call your child's school and daycare to inform them. Treat your child for head lice using the product/method of your choice. Remove eggs (nits) daily. It takes at least 2 weeks to get rid of lice. If all nits within 1/2 inch of the scalp are not removed, some may hatch and your child will be infested again. Parents should check their children's hair weekly for head lice. Catching it early helps prevent the spread of lice to others.

For additional information, please reference the Head Lice Parent Fact Sheet