What do head lice and their eggs look like?

What do head lice and their eggs look like?

An itchy scalp isn’t the only sign that your child might have head lice. In fact, only about half of children with head lice will experience any itchiness at all.

Therefore, even if a child isn’t scratching, it’s a good idea to do a regular check for lice and their eggs (nits).

So, what are you looking for?

Lice can’t fly, hop or jump. They are crawlers and usually can only travel from one child to another when their hair is in direct contact. An adult louse (Single: louse, plural: lice) has six legs and is about the size of a sesame seed. Because lice feed on blood, they are usually found on hair near the scalp where they are often mistaken for dandruff.

Unlike dandruff though, lice are crawlers, and will often scurry towards warmth and darkness when you part a child’s hair to look for them. If you’re having trouble finding lice, look in the areas behind the ears and along the hairline on the back of the neck, where they are more easily seen.

Making the job more difficult is the fact that lice are often a similar colour as the hair in which they are living. They range in colour from grey to beige, but are always darker after feeding.

Lice eggs or dandruff?
A female louse will lay around 10 eggs (nits) per day. Oval in shape, they can be white, yellow or brown in colour, and again are often mistaken for dandruff flakes. If they are difficult to remove from the hair strand, they are almost certainly nits, as the female louse attaches her eggs to the hair with a glue-like substance. This glue is waterproof, so washing the hair will not remove them.

Even though lice don’t spread disease, a lice infestation should be stopped before it can spread to other children.

If you do spot lice and/or eggs, pick up a bottle of Licener Single Treatment from your pharmacy or buy online here. Licener kills both lice and eggs with a single 10 minute treatment, with no combing required. Gentle on normal skin types, Licener has no nasty odour.


References: babycenter.com, essentialkids.com.au