Chapter 2: What Are Lice & Nits?

Head Lice Facts

Chapter 2

Let’s talk about lice! What are they? Head lice, are tiny, wingless insects that are flat and about the size of a sesame seed. Head lice sustain themselves by feeding on blood from the human scalp. Typically, they are found behind the ears and at the nape of the neck; although, they can be found anywhere on the head.

Contrary to what many believe, head lice do not fly or jump. As mentioned above, head lice are not equipped with wings for flight. Lice are however, able to move quickly from hair to hair. They are transmitted through direct head-to-head contact, as well as through the sharing of personal items such as hats, combs, & brushes. Lice don’t live long off of the human scalp, about 48 hours.

Head lice eggs, also called nits, are typically yellowish brown to white in color. Nits are securely attached to the hair shaft close to the scalp with a glue-like substance secreted by the louse. Nits cannot be washed or blown away, and it is best to remove them with a nit comb or fingernails. Unlike a louse, nits can potentially live off of the head for up to 14 days.

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