Head lice are blood-sucking insects with no wings. They live in your hair and feed on the blood that runs through your scalp. A single adult louse is around the size of a sesame seed. A nit (louse egg) is the size of a little dandruff flake.
Causes of head lice
Lice transmission via inanimate things is theoretically possible, it has been proven to be extremely uncommon. Brushes, combs, barrettes, headbands, headphones, and hats are examples of inanimate items. It’s also possible for lice to live on bed linens, beds, towels, or clothing for a short period of time. Touching your head to a lice-infested person’s head sharing a lice-infested person’s personal things (such as a comb) after a person with head lice, using a cloth object.
Types of lice
Lice come in three different varieties. They’re all parasites from the same family, yet they’re all different species:
- Head lice can be seen on the scalp, neck, and ears.
- Body lice begin their lives on garments or in mattresses, but they quickly spread to people’s skin.
- Crabs are another name for pubic lice. They can be found on pubic hair and skin.
Life cycle of lice
Lice have three stages of development: nymph (baby lice), nit (egg), and adult. Depending on the temperature, nymphs can take anywhere from five to ten days to hatch. The faster they hatch, the warmer the temperature is. Before they are ready to lay nits, nymphs grow for about a week. Adults who have access to human blood can live for up to 30 days. Adult head and pubic lice die after 48 to 72 hours without blood, but body lice can live for a week off a human, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Trusted Source (CDC). Lice are about the size of a sesame seed when they are fully grown. Head and body lice have a six-legged, segmented body. Pubic lice have six legs as well, but they’re in the shape of little sea crabs. Lice are either tan or brown-gray in color. Nits are little, light-colored deposits that are connected to hair in the case of head and pubic lice, and fabric in the case of body lice. The female louse uses a glue-like substance to firmly bind nits to hair or clothing. When prodded with a finger, the eggs will not move, but they can be extracted using a special fine-toothed comb.