Chapter 2: What Are Lice & Nits?

What Are Lice and Nits

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, you can find them 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. However, lice can move quickly from hair strand to hair strand. They transfer through direct head-to-head contact and by sharing personal items such as hats, combs, & brushes. Lice don’t live long off the human scalp, about 48 hours.

Head lice eggs, called nits, are 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 live off the head for up to 14 days.

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