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101 Facts of Lice and the Best Lice Treatment

101 Facts of Lice and the Best Lice Treatment
Created on 
June 11, 2020
Updated on 
January 31, 2023

The ultimate guide to everything you need to know about head lice and the best lice treatment but had no one to ask.

  1. No one is immune to head lice.
  2. Lice are parasites that require human blood to survive.
  3. Lice are brownish, have six legs, and are wingless. 
  4. Head lice infestations are NOT due to poor hygiene.
  5. Lice can live for 30 days and mature bugs lay 6 to 10 eggs a day.
  6. There are 3 stages of lice development: nit (egg), nymph (baby bug), and adult louse.
  7. Head lice is the second leading cause of school absenteeism after the common cold.
  8. Lice are now dubbed “super lice” because of their resistance to chemical lice treatments.
  9. Pets can not get head lice.
  10. The overwhelming majority of head lice cases are spread through direct head-to-head contact. 
  11. There are both in-home and salon professional services available to treat head lice.
  12. Consumer Reports advises that the safest way to get rid of lice is with a metal comb and lubricant. 
  13. Salons may use a hot air device which carry some risk; not demonstrated to be safe for kids under 4 years of age…. “CAUTION: Because the device delivers heated air, there is a slight possibility of scalp burn if the device is not used according to instructions.”
  14. In the past few years, many schools have dropped their “no nit” policies and allow children with nits (lice eggs) to remain in class.
  15. Lice cannot live off the human head for more than a few hours or a day at the most.
  16. Lice are extremely contagious; if one family member has it, chances are others do as well.
  17. Rarely do dads have head lice; some studies suggest that lice do not like testosterone.
  18. Lice prefer clean hair to dirty hair because it is easier for the louse to adhere to clean hair.
  19. Adding gel, mousse, or spray to the hair helps to protect it from head lice as these products act as a barrier.
  20. Studies suggest that lice are repelled by the scent of peppermint. LiceDoctors Mint Repellent Spray
  21. Dyed hair is not immune to head lice.
  22. Lice at maturity are the size of a sesame seed.
  23. Nits (lice eggs) are round on one side and pointy on the other with an antenna protruding from the front.
  24. Nits have a translucent shell which houses the nymph (baby bug).
  25. Nits camouflage in the hair and may have a whitish cast.
  26. When placed against a white background nits will look brown.
  27. The best way to find nits is in natural sunlight or with a bright lamp and with magnifying glasses or “readers”
  28. It takes about 10 days for a nymph to mature and start laying eggs.
  29. Lice cannot hop or jump or fly; they crawl from head to head.
  30. Prescription lice shampoos usually contain benzoyl alcohol, malathion, or lindane.
  31. The cost of Rx product Ulesfia (benzoyl alcohol) is $60 for 4 oz (usually require 3-6 bottles per person).
  32. Malathion marketed under the brand name Ovide has an 85% effectiveness rate, although resistance seems to be increasing and there may be side effects. and there may be side effects 
  33. Lindane has a reported 78% efficacy National Center For Biotechnology Information, but has a risk of severe side effects, including seizures, and is used only when other treatments have failed.
  34. It is not likely to catch lice from an inanimate object such as a chair or article of clothing.
  35. Head lice are found all around the scalp, particularly at the nape of the neck and around the ears.
  36. The American Association of Pediatrics and the CDC recommend that schools allow children with nits to remain as lice is not a health hazard and it has caused too many children to miss too many school days.
  37. Nits are not contagious.
  38. DEC plugs are white sticky dots in the hair that are sometimes mistaken for nits; they are from oil glands.
  39. Pediatricians do not study pediculosis (head lice) in medical school.
  40. Dandruff is occasionally mistaken for nits; dandruff is flakey while nits are glued to the hair.
  41. Lice can be found on beards and eyebrows and eyelashes, although this is uncommon.
  42. Lice affect a reported 6-12 million school aged children each year; there are likely more cases since many go unreported.
  43. You do not need to bag up stuffed animals and toys because lice can not live on them. LiceDoctors - Lice Education Center
  44. People with buzz cuts can still have a lice infestation.
  45. Not everyone with lice has symptoms; some people are not itchy.
  46. Head lice do not carry disease.
  47. To eradicate a lice infestation, every nit must be removed from the hair.
  48. Prescription lice shampoos are expensive and not always effective.
  49. Lice feed off the human blood in the scalp three times a day.
  50. The American Nursing Association supports the recommendation to allow students with nits to remain in school.
  51. If a nit falls off the hair, it can not reattach itself.
  52. Cleaning the house is not necessary; it is about the head not the house. LiceDoctors - Lice Education Center
  53. Chlorine will not kill lice.  
  54. Lice are around all year, not just warm months.
  55. Washing machines, clothes dryers, and hair dryers will not kill lice.
  56. Nits have a hard, impenetrable shell;  nothing can kill a nit so it must be manually extracted.
  57. An untreated case of lice will not go away by itself.
  58. People who wear wigs can still get head lice if there is any hair on the scalp as the bugs will crawl underneath the wig.
  59. The best way to get rid of a lice infestation is to comb and then manually extract all nits.
  60. Oil is helpful in slowing down and suffocating the bugs and loosening the nits.
  61. Lice use hair as a ladder to get to the scalp where the blood is.
  62. African Americans are at lower risk of contracting head lice than other groups because of the popularity of sheens and oils in grooming regimens.
  63. Head lice are more commonly found on girls than on boys.
  64. Girls with long hair should pull their hair up into a bun or ponytail to make it harder for the lice to access the hair.
  65. Viable unhatched nits are found within 1/4 inch from the scalp.
  66.  Once a nit is laid it takes 7-10 days to hatch.
  67. You do not have to throw away bedding; lice are not like bed bugs…they can not survive in the bed.
  68. Most common OTC lice shampoos contain permethrin or pyrethrin (Rid, Nix, R&C shampoos).
  69. These products have a reported effectiveness rate of 20-30% in recent clinical studies.
  70. OTC lice shampoos may have adverse side effects including burning, itching, numbness, rash, redness, stinging, swelling, or tingling of the scalp. 
  71. The most likely candidates for head lice are preschoolers and young elementary school aged children as they tend to play in close contact with each other.
  72. Swimming does not spread head lice; you can not get head lice in a swimming pool (other than from head to head contact).
  73. Body lice are longer than head lice and can live on clothes and furniture and, unlike head lice, body lice are generally associated with people with poor hygiene living in crowded circumstances.
  74. Scratching head lice bites, like mosquito bites, may cause them to become inflamed.
  75. Peak lice season is August and September, related to summer camp and back to school.
  76. Head lice have been on earth for over one million years.
  77. Females mate once in their life time to produce all their eggs.
  78. Over 80% of schools in the U.S. will experience a lice outbreak.
  79. Lice are hard to find as they scoot quickly; they move at a rate of 3.75 inches per minute or 450 feet per day.
  80. Itching from lice bites is the result of an allergy to the saliva of the louse, not from the bite itself
  81. Product residue from hair styling products is sometimes mistaken for nits.
  82. Lice turn darker in color following a feeding reflecting the influence of blood.
  83. It usually takes 2 weeks before a case of head lice becomes evident.
  84. Lice are rarely found in helmets with hard, smooth inside surfaces as there is no way for the bug to cling on.
  85. Selfies may contribute to the spread of head lice, albeit infrequently, as heads are together for a very brief time.
  86. Slumber parties are often associated with the spread of head lice, and children should be screened before and after.
  87. In the vast majority of cases if a child has lice, the mom will as well.
  88. If one person in the family has head lice, the whole family should be screened as lice are so contagious; otherwise the family will continue to pass around the case.
  89. To eliminate lice generally requires treatment and then some follow up as newly laid eggs are not visible to the human eye.
  90. Most public schools no longer do routine screenings for lice.
  91. The best way to ensure that you get all the nits out of the hair is to comb in 2 inch sections around the head.
  92. Cleopatra had her own solid gold nit comb and dried up lice have been found in the heads of Egyptian mummies.
  93. It is advisable to tell your child's friends about your case so that they can get treated and not give the infestation back to your child.
  94. Head lice occurs across all socio-economic groups and all over the globe including Siberia.
  95. Chemical treatments should never be done prophylactically.
  96. Spraying chemicals in the home is not effective and may be dangerous.
  97. There is still a stigma associated with head lice (based on the myth that lice are related to poor hygiene) but fortunately it is diminishing.
  98. Recurrences of cases are usually because the case was not eradicated in the first place.
  99. Some people report difficulty sleeping as head lice become more active in the dark.
  100.  Experience matters when finding head lice and identifying nits due to the elusive nature of the bugs and camouflaging of nits.
  101.  The National Pediculosis Association recommends combing and handpicking as the most effective and safest way of eliminating head lice.

About LiceDoctors

best lice treatment

The best lice treatment is one that gets rid of the live bugs and nits and ensures that they don't return. It is also one that is fully safe with no side effects. Convenience and privacy should be factored in as well. LiceDoctors meets those criteria and more. LiceDoctors comes to your home at the time that you request to fit seamlessly into your schedule. Your experienced lice professional is calming and reassuring and has the tools and expertise to eliminate the lice cases in your family and to ensure that they stay gone! After removing all lice and nits, she will provide you with a simple aftercare plan to prevent a recurrence and to alleviate the need for you to clean your house and do loads of laundry. 

LiceDoctors has a board-certified medical doctor on-staff who keeps us up-to-date on best practices. We have have successfully eliminated lice in over 500,000 clients and we can help you, as well. To make an appointment call 800-224-2537 or visit us at

We provide a friendly in-home lice removal service

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