Lice Information Sheet

PS 3 Lice Info Sheet PDF

What Are Head Lice And Nits?

Head lice, medically known as Pediculosis capitis, are parasitic insects that live on the human scalp. They have six legs with claws designed to grasp onto the hair shaft. They develop in three stages: nit, nymph, and adult louse. The adult female louse lays about six to ten eggs a day. Nits are the oval-shaped lice eggs that the female louse lays. They are brown to gray in color and are cemented to the hair shaft. Nits hatch into a nymph or baby louse within a week. The nymph becomes an adult louse one week later. Head lice feed on human blood which can result in severe itching. Head lice is very common among school children. By checking your child’s head every couple of weeks, you will help prevent the headache of a lice infestation in your home.

What Are The Symptoms of Head Lice?

The most obvious symptom is the presence of lice and nits on the head. However, eggs and lice are very, very tiny and if you don’t know what you are looking for you may mistake lice for dandruff or other flakes. Inspect your child’s hair and scalp and look for nits behind the ears, on the crown of the head, and at the nape of the neck. The following four symptoms may indicate a head lice infestation:

  • Itching – Itching is usually the first sign that lice may be present. It is also the most common lice symptom. Children may be itching only slightly more than usual or you may notice vigorous and frequent itching.
  • Red Sores on Scalp – Sometimes, small red sores form on the scalp due to scratching after being bitten by the louse.
  • Tickling Feeling in Hair – Your child may complain that someone is “tickling him on his head.” This is the louse crawling around.

General Lice Facts

  • Some head lice shampoos can be highly toxic for your child, and many strains of head lice are immune to the chemicals in over the counter lice shampoos. All–natural shampoos are available and very effective if followed with other steps of combing a child’s hair out.
  • Head lice cannot jump or fly… they do not have wings!
  • Head lice cannot live on your pets or any animals.
  • Head lice cannot live and breed in your environment i.e. couches, carpets, cars, movie theaters, airplanes without a human host.
  • Head lice are not signs of unwashed or dirty hair, rather they seek out and thrive on clean hair rather than hair with products (gels, hairsprays) or lice preventative sprays. They like to climb on clean hair shafts for more oily hair is a deterrent or a hair shaft coated with a product.

Lice Science

  • Lice does not discriminate! Head lice crosses all socioeconomic boundaries.
  • Head lice is one of the top 3 reasons why children miss school.
  • Longer hair is more susceptible in contracting head lice.
  • Head lice thrive equally in warm and cold climates.


  • Do not panic! Do not turn your household upside-down!
  • Do not replace your furnishings including your mattress.
  • Do not wash your entire wardrobe (just those worn recently).
  • Do not use toxic products!
  • Explain to your children about sharing hats and scarves.

Lice DO’S

  • Relax and take a deep breath! Everything is going to be OK!
  • Do use all-natural products to aid in your manual lice removal methods.
  • Once you know what to check for – check your child often (daily or weekly!). If you are not sure what to look for you can always stop by Terry’s office and she will check for you!!
  • Do use preventative sprays and oils every day before sending your child to school! Eucalyptus oil, Citronella, Tea tree oil, Geranium oil, Rosemary oil, Lavender oil (girls only) and kyolic oil have all proven effective in preventing head lice. A little spray on and through your child’s head every morning can go a long way in preventing lice. Shampoos and conditioners with tee tree oil also have been effective in preventing lice.
  • Do pull your child’s hair back (in a braid or bun is best) at school every day if possible.
  • Do vacuum and place sheets or other barriers over coaches, chairs and other areas your child comes in contact with daily. This only needs to be done for a few days or a week, as the lifecycle of a louse is short.
  • Do daily wash only the clothing, bedding, brushes and hair accessories used during your head lice infestation (After you have done this once, placing the bedding in a dryer is effective).
  • Once lice is detected DO have your entire household screened.
  • DO inform your school and friends immediately if you have head lice to avoid further

The Facts about Head Lice

There’s a lot of confusion about head lice! But don’t worry, they don’t jump, fly or swim! Head lice can be bothersome, but they are not dangerous to your health! They do not carry disease, but some children have shown that they can be allergic to the bites.

Here’s some more information on exactly how these pesky parasites live out their lives. The Life Cycle picture below comes from the Department of Health’s CDC unit, which is a great resource for all kinds of health issues.

Microsoft Word - LICEfacts.docx

The Life Cycle of a Head Louse

You can see that the life cycle of the head louse has three stages: egg, nymph, and adult. Here’s what the CDC says about the head louse wheel of life:

Eggs: Nits are head lice eggs. They are hard to see and are often confused for dandruff or hair spray droplets. Nits may be found at the base of the hair shaft nearest the scalp. They are 0.8 mm by 0.3 mm, oval and usually yellow to white. Nits take about 1 week to hatch (range 6 to 9 days).

Nymphs: The egg hatches to release a nymph. The nit shell then becomes a more visible dull yellow and remains attached to the hair shaft. The nymph looks like an adult head louse, but is about the size of a pinhead. Nymphs mature after three molts and become adults about 7 days after hatching.

Adults: The adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed, has 6 legs (each with claws, yikes), and is tan to grayish-white. In persons with dark hair, the adult louse will appear darker. The females can lay up to 8 nits per day. Adult lice can live up to 30 days on a person’s head. To live, adult lice need to feed on blood several times daily. Without blood meals, the louse will die within 1 to 2 days off the human host.

If you suspect someone in your family has head lice, it’s important to act quickly so that those pesky lice don’t spread!


Microsoft Word - LICEfacts.docxExample of egg next to penny used to show perspective.

IMAGES –enlarged to show detail!

Microsoft Word - LICEfacts.docxExample of nit/eggMicrosoft Word - LICEfacts.docx Example of a nymph (baby louse)

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Example of an adult louse.