They look the same as everywhere else!
Marlene G., a mom and PTA president in Pittsburgh, was having a discussion with some friends about head lice. Several kids in the fourth grade had been recently diagnosed with head lice. Many of the cases were quite advanced indicating that the kids had been carrying the lice in their hair for many weeks. Over the course of the conversation Marlene realized that none of the women she was with, including yourself, knew exactly what to look for when searching for head lice in their child’s hair. As PTA president, Marlene decided it would be helpful for her to become better educated on the topic of head lice. An Internet search led her to LiceDoctors’ education center which led her to give us a call. We gave Marlene a description of head lice which she brought back to her Pittsburgh PTA. In addition she encouraged her school nurse to attend one of our online webinars about our pittsburgh lice removal treatment, which the nurse said was very helpful to her as well.
Head lice move quickly through the hair, and can be difficult to spot, they all have a similar appearance. Adult head lice are approximately 2–3 mm long, about the size of a sesame seed. They are brownish in color, have 6 legs, and no wings. Head lice attach to the hair in the head near the base of the hair shaft and lay eggs near the scalp. Head lice need to be near the head so that they can feed from blood in the hair.
No Jumping or Flying
Lice cannot jump or fly. Head lice infestation, or pediculosis, is generally transmitted by head to head contact. Lice can not live on dogs, cats, and other animals. Sometimes lice are transmitted through objects such as clothing or hats or on combs or brushes or potentially on the furniture but since bugs die within a day without human blood, these are not common ways for people to pick up a case.
Lice lay eggs called nits. Sometimes after laying several nits a louse will leave one head and move on to another. The nits that are left in the hair will hatch after about 7 to 10 days and baby lice, called nymphs, will come out. Nits have a translucent shell encasing a baby bug. Nits stick to the hair shaft close to the scalp. They can be challenging to find as they often camouflage with the hair.
Most People Do Not Know What To Look For
Marlene called us the day after her next PTA meeting to thank us and to inform us that the parents at the meeting admitted that they really did not know what to look for in the hair. “Education really is important when it comes to head lice. While lice seem to be inevitable, perhaps if more people knew what to look for they could identify the case earlier on.” Lice can be difficult to see in the hair but checking your family on a regular basis is a good first step.