top of page

HEAD LICE ALERT: What you should know about the Head Life Cycle

Clinica do Piolho

In order to eliminate lice and nits it is very important to understand the life cycle of this parasite and to know how to act.

Lice live for about a month and their life is categorized into three stages;

  • nit (louse egg), when it is inside the shell

  • nymph (young louse), when it leaves the shell and begins to develop until adulthood.

  • adult louse, has already developed and begins to breed

The nits

Nits, or lice eggs, are placed by the female louse near the root of the hair with a water-insoluble substance, especially behind the ears and the nape of the head so that they can have heat to incubate.

The nits have an oval shape of about 0.8mm and a very resistant capsule, which is almost transparent when deposited, until it gains a more yellowish color as it develops. After about 7 days they hatch, becoming nymphs.

The nymphs

Nymphs are newborn baby lice from nits. They look identical to adult lice, except that they are slightly smaller and may also be slightly lighter in color. During this period they will go through 3 transitions until they reach adulthood. On the last day, the sex of the louse will be defined, the majority of which are females:

  • Transition 1: newly hatched nymph. They can be translucent until the first blood meal.

  • Transition 2: slightly larger than transition 1, but not as translucent. In phases 1 and 2 they are unable to move to new heads.

  • Transition 3: they are slightly smaller than adults and can move to new heads.

Adult lice

Adult lice measure about 2.5 to 3.5 mm and have 3 pairs of paws with claws on the ends, which they use to grab the hair strands.

Lice also use their claws to pierce the skin, after which they inject saliva and suck blood out of the mouth. The injected saliva is mainly responsible for the feeling of irritation and itching that we have when there is an infestation of lice. Lice after feeding acquire a darker shade (reddish). They usually stay close to the scalp to eat and to maintain a temperature suitable for their survival (between 36 and 37.5 degrees).

An adult female louse can place up to 10 nits per day, as the adult life of a louse is about 3 weeks, this means that a female can place more than 150 nits in her life, resulting in rapid reproduction and an infestation of lice severe if not treated.

How knowing lice life cycle can help treating lice?

  1. Adult lice and nymphs (last stage) are able to move from head to head to infect another child, while the remaining nymphs and nits cannot.

  2. When it comes to lice, it is possible to eliminate all lice, nymphs and remove most nits, however if 2 nits to escape (which is very easy, as they are tiny and almost transparent) for the problem to arise again

  3. As such, it is very important to do a lice and nits treatment follow-up again after 7 days, because at this point the nits that escaped (the tiny and transparent ones) have already developed and we were able to identify and eliminate them.

  4. The time interval of 7 - 10 days for the lice and nits treatment follow-up is very important, as it allows to identify the nymphs of the nits that escaped at the same time that have not yet reached the adult age to start a new infestation.

At Happy Heads Clinic we know the importance of the lice and nits treatment follow-up after 7 days, and to ensure 100% treatment effectiveness, the follow-up is included in the treatment. Find out more, how we eliminate lice and nits in a 100% Natural, Effective and Safe way!

10 views0 comments


bottom of page