Approximately 6-12 million head lice infestations are reported annually in the United States. Most infestations occur in children aged 3 to 11, primarily because of being in close quarters at school and children’s tendency to “share” things such as hats and brushes. This means if you have kids, you will likely have a run-in with head lice at some point in time.
And while head lice are very small, they can create a very big problem for families if an infestation occurs. But like they say, knowledge is power. So, the more you know and understand about head lice, the easier it will be to stop an infestation in its tracks. This article will discuss the life cycle of head lice, what they need to survive, and what precautions to take after an infestation.
Nits are lice eggs. They are tiny, teardrop-shaped sacs that are white or yellowish. They often look like dandruff or hair product flakes. The difference is that a nit will stick to the hair shaft, and you will not be able to remove it easily while you can easily remove dandruff or other flakes from the hair.
An adult female head louse lays nits about a quarter of an inch from the base of the hair shaft. It takes about 8 to 9 days for a nit to hatch. After they hatch, the empty egg will remain on the hair follicle and grow out with the hair.
The louse that hatches from the nit is called a nymph. It looks like an adult louse, but it is much smaller. They mature into an adult about 9 to 12 days after hatching.
A fully developed adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed, and females are larger than males. Their color can range from a grayish-white to a tan color. They must also feed on blood to survive.
As soon as they hatch, nymphs need food to survive, and they must feed multiple times a day. So they crawl from the strand of hair down to the scalp, feeding off of their host’s blood. Fortunately, they can only live off of human blood, so it’s impossible to get lice from or give lice to your pets.
As long as they have a food source, an adult louse can live for up to thirty days. And while that may not seem like a significant amount of time, they continue to multiply during this time, and a female louse can lay up to eight eggs each day.
Depending on the temperature, adult head lice can live off of the human head for about 1 to 4 days, and nits can live for up to 10 days. And although nits can live up to 10 days off of their host, they will not hatch if they are at or below room temperature.
Head lice can live on objects such as carpets, upholstered furniture, bedding, clothing, and stuffed animals. Although they can’t live long, there is a chance that they could transfer to another person before they die. To avoid further infestation, you can take certain precautions to prevent lice from crawling onto a new host.
It can be a very time-consuming process to get rid of head lice. The good news is that head lice don’t carry disease and are not a health hazard. But simple things like not sharing hair brushes, hair accessories, bedding, or hats with others can help reduce the chance of contracting head lice.
Licefreee! has been in the business of helping families get rid of head lice for over 20 years. Our goal has always been to provide families with a safe and effective way to tackle head lice infestations. All of our products are non-toxic, use sodium chloride to kill head lice and nits, and are effective in treating “super lice” infestations where traditional treatments fail.
Head over to our products page if you’re ready to solve your head lice problem with America’s best-selling, non-toxic lice treatment.