Head Lice


If your scalp itches, you may have a lice infestation. Lice are tiny insects that like to live in the hair on your head. They bite your scalp and feed on your blood. And they can spread from one person to another.

What They Look Like

Lice are hard to see because they are very small. When fully grown, they're about the size of a sesame seed. They are tan to grayish-white in color. The females lay small eggs, called "nits," on strands of hair near your scalp. Nits are yellow to white in color, and hatch after about a week. Each adult female lays about eight nits a day, so a colony of lice grows very fast.

How Lice Spread

Lice don't have wings, and they can't jump. They spread from close contact between people. They can spread through hugging. They can spread if you share a hair brush, a hat, headphones, a pillow or other personal items with another person.


Lice are treated with liquid medicine you put in your hair. That kills the lice. Then you can use a special fine-toothed nit comb to remove the lice and their eggs from your hair. You may need more than one treatment. If one person in your house has lice, everyone should be checked. Everyone who has an active infestation should be treated at the same time. Lice are becoming resistant to many over-the counter treatments, so you may need a prescription medication. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information.