Head Lice Identification & Prevention

Tiny insects that live on the scalps of humans and feed on the blood of their hosts to survive.

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You can find head lice in areas with high numbers of people in close contact. The spread of head lice is prevalent in schools and educational facilities. It occurs when personal items such as hats, combs, and helmets are shared or indirect contact (head or hair) with an individual with lice.

Biology And Behavior

headlice on hair
  • Head lice are approximately 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch in length. The eggs (or nits) are typically only 1/16th of an inch in length.

  • Long, flat bodies that are grayish.

  • Six legs equipped with hook-like claws that allow them to move along hair shafts.

  • Head lice are can only live for about two days without a host.

Head Lice Control Tips

  • When detected, the first step should be to consult your doctor for advice on what type of treatment to use.

  • Wash all clothing and bedding that the infested person has contacted immediately to kill head lice.

Head Lice Prevention Tips

To help prevent head lice infestations:

  • Do not share hairbrushes, hats, or hair ties.

  • Wash all bedding thoroughly.

  • Routinely check children for head lice.

  • Do not send infested children to school until the lice have been treated and killed.

  • For more information about head lice and treatments, visit headlice.org.

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