- Head lice (singularly know as a head louse) are parasites. They need a human host to survive. They live close to the scalp and feed a few times a day. They do not carry diseases. Without a host, a louse will die after 36-48 hours.
- Lice have been around for centuries. They are found all over the world and infestations are most common among children and families.
- Cleanliness does not relate to susceptibility to contracting head lice.
- Lice crawl, they do not fly or jump. Head to head contact is the most common way to transfer lice although they may be spread through clothing and sharing items.
- Lice have three stages of life: The egg (nit), the nymph, and the adult stage. (See image on right.) Nits (1/32 inch) take about 8-9 days to hatch. A louse is a nymph for 9-12 days after hatching until it grows to be an adult. A nymph cannot lay eggs. An adult louse can live 30 days, is about the size of a sesame seed (1/16 to 1/8 inch long) and lays about 4-6 eggs per day.
- Many strains of head lice have built up immunities and resistance to chemical treatments that are currently on the market. When lice are removed or killed eggs are still present. It is critical to remove these in order to cure an infestation.
- Animals cannot get lice.
- Head lice can hold their breath for up to 5 hours.