One of the best ways to protect against a lice infestation is to understand their different life stages. There is a lot of confusion around head lice and how long they live and how resilient they are to daily activities. Here are the different life stages of head lice:
Nit – Nits are what we call head lice eggs. They are very small, between 0.1 and 0.8 mm, and a whitish-yellow color. Their size and color often cause confusion, as they can look like dandruff. Nits attach themselves to a single hair shaft about a half-centimeter from the scalp with a glue-like substance that can withstand most regular daily activities. Although a nit that is dislodged will usually die before it has hatched, a comprehensive lice treatment is needed to get rid of nits and living lice.
Nymph – After approximately 7-10 days a nymph, or young louse, will hatch from the nit. The nit shell will become more visible after it has hatched as it turns a yellow-ish color. It will remain attached to the hair shaft, which can make lice detection difficult. An empty nit doesn’t always indicate a live louse.
Nymphs are still fairly small, usually not growing larger than 1.5 mm. They will be a more tan or off-white color and are simply a smaller version of the adult louse with six legs and a tough outer shell. The nymph will stay close to the scalp to feed and after it molts it will become an adult.
Adult – The louse becomes an adult approximately 8-12 days after hatching and going through the nymph stages. Adults are about the size of a sesame seed and around the same coloration as the nymphs, though occasionally with a more rusty color. Once a louse becomes an adult they are capable of reproducing. The female louse can lay anywhere from 6-10 eggs a day and are typically larger than their male counterparts. The adult louse can live up to 30 days on a human head but will die within 48 hours off the human host. Head lice at any stage in life are unable to jump or fly, so once they are have fallen or been taken off, they will die.
Lice are highly resilient to the chemicals many use to treat an infestation. At Pediatric Hair Solutions, we have a comprehensive, safe, and natural treatment that is 100% effective. We combine our experience as medical professionals and work hard to make your experience quick and painless.