A Visual Guide to What Lice & Nits Look Like

The itch, the scratch... could it possibly be lice? Lice infestations can be unsettling, but knowing what to look for is the first step in effective treatment. A lice check at home is a simple solution. In this visual guide, we'll share how to check for lice, what to look for, and how to treat an infestation if you do confirm lice.

Common Symptoms of a Lice Infestation

Unfortunately, lice are a common inconvenience, especially among school-aged children. You might consider lice if you’ve been notified of an infestation by your child's school or if your toddler scratches their scalp non-stop. Common symptoms of a lice infestation include persistent itching of the scalp, visible nits (lice eggs) attached to hair shafts, and scratch marks or irritated skin on the neck and ears. The easiest and most efficient way to confirm a case of lice is to conduct an at-home inspection.

How to Check for Lice

Conducting an at-home lice inspection is simple yet crucial. Start by parting the hair in small sections using a fine-toothed comb and closely examine the scalp and hair strands. Look for adult lice, tiny, wingless insects about the size of a sesame seed. Lice may move or appear to jump. Nits, on the other hand, are oval-shaped and firmly attached to the hair near the scalp. Use a bright light and a magnifying glass to examine the scalp as you comb through each section.

What to Look For

When checking for lice, pay attention to their distinctive characteristics. Adult lice are typically light brown to grayish white in color and may appear translucent. They move quickly and are often found near the scalp, particularly behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. Nits are much smaller and oval-shaped. They are usually yellowish to white and are firmly attached to individual hair strands, typically within ¼ inch of the scalp. Nits do not move and cannot be brushed away like dandruff or dirt.

human head louse: pediculus humanus on hair

What Does Lice Look Like?

Adult lice are small, wingless insects with six legs and a flattened, elongated body. They vary in color from tan to grayish-white and are about the size of a sesame seed. Lice are often found near the scalp, feeding on blood several times daily. They move quickly, making them challenging to spot, but they may appear more visible when the hair is wet. Distinguishing lice from dandruff can be tricky, but lice are typically darker in color and appear to jump or move quickly.

Characteristics of Lice:

Size: About the size of a sesame seed, approximately 2-3 millimeters in length
Color: Vary in color from light brown to grayish white
Shape: Lice have a distinctive flattened, elongated body
Movement: Lice are agile and can move quickly, making them challenging to spot

What do Nits Look Like?

Nits, or lice eggs, are tiny oval-shaped structures attached to individual hair shafts near the scalp. They are usually yellowish to white and are firmly stuck in place by an adhesive produced by the female louse. Nits are often mistaken for dandruff or hair debris, but they are more difficult to remove and may appear translucent when backlit.

Characteristics of Nits:

Size: Specks less than one millimeter in size
Color: They are typically yellow, tan, or brown, often appearing translucent
Shape: Oval or circular
Movement: Nits firmly attach to hair strands near the scalp and don't move

How to Tell if Lice is Alive or Dead

Determining whether lice are alive can be challenging. Live lice are typically very mobile, while dead lice are often immobile and may appear dried out or flattened. Lice can live on the scalp for up to 30 days, and if you identify adult lice, chances are there's an infestation. Quick treatment is crucial to preventing a spread. And don't worry; you may find dead lice in the days following a lice treatment. It is not necessarily an indicator of a lice reinfestation.

How to Treat Lice

The Licefreee! Ultimate Kit offers a comprehensive solution for the whole family when treating lice. Start by applying Licefreee! Spray, a homeopathic formula, to the scalp and hair. Saturate the area and allow it to air dry. Once complete, use the provided NitDuo Comb to thoroughly comb through the hair, removing any dead nits or lice with every pass. Next, protect your home from re-infestation! Spray Licefreee! Use Home Lice Control Spray on any furniture, upholstery, or linens that may have come into contact with lice. 

Identifying and promptly addressing lice infestations is crucial for effective treatment and prevention. By familiarizing yourself with the appearance of lice and nits, you can take proactive measures to keep your family lice-free and maintain peace of mind.


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This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
Claims based on traditional homeopathic practice, medical evidence not accepted. Not evaluated by the FDA.
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