Looking at the pictures of head lice can teach you a lot of things. First, knowing what these critters look like will help you identify them when you do get head lice. Second, seeing those pictures will help you recognize the symptoms of head lice. Third, it gives you an idea of why head lice are so difficult to get rid of. It gives you a glimpse into their strengths and their weaknesses so you’ll know how to get rid of them.
Head Lice Transmission
Head lice do not have wings to fly nor jump, they can only crawl. This is the reason why head lice can only be transmitted through physical contact. Head-to-head contact is one the primary reasons of head lice transmission. They can crawl from head to head in just few seconds.
You can also acquire head lice through indirect contact. You can acquire them by sharing clothing, hair accessories, combs, and other objects which can have contact with your hair like pillows or towels. However, lice eggs can only live 1 – 2 days away from their host.
That’s why doctors often recommend that you don’t share personal items like these. If you or anyone in your family has head lice, it’s best to keep their personal items away from other things in the house to help head lice transmission.
Importance of Early Identification
One of the worst things about head lice is that they keep coming back. And it doesn’t help that most of the head lice treatments out there aren’t as effective as they claim.
Early identification of head lice infestation is very important because it helps make treatment easier and it helps prevent complications. Yes! Head lice can cause complications. Some people develop allergies from lice bites. Some scratch their scalps so hard due to the itch to the point the skin could break and cause wounds. And if these wounds are left untreated, it can cause infections. It may even come to a point wherein you need to shave all your hair off to treat the infection.
That’s why it’s important to look at pictures of head lice. Know what they look like, especially the nits. Visible nits or lice eggs are usually the first symptom you see with head lice infestation.
Head Lice and Nits Magnified
You can’t identify these lice from afar. You really need to look closely near the scalp to find these lice, with a magnifying glass if necessary. They’re usually found at the hair shafts near the scalp and they like to huddle behind the ears of at the nape where it’s warm and comfortable.
By looking through a magnifying glass, you can clearly identify how head lice and nits would look like and compare them to the larger, blown up pictures. Below are brief descriptions of what head lice look like in its 3 life stages.
Adult Head Lice – Head Lice Pictures
Adult head lice are 2.1 – 3.3 mm in length (female louse are larger than male louse). They are about the size of a sesame seed or a pin head. Their rusty color changes to opaque after feeding on blood. They have antennas. Their oval-shaped bodies have 3 pairs of legs with claws at the end. These claws are perfect for clinging. They can live for up to 30 days and lay 8 nits per day.
Nymph – Head Lice Pictures
An immature louse is referred to as nymph. They have the same features as the adult lice but only smaller. They are three times 3 – 5 times smaller than adult head lice. They are yellow in color before they turn rusty. Nymphs become mature after 7 – 9 days.
Lice Egg – Head Lice Pictures
Head lice eggs pictures are mistakenly referred to as nits. Nits are empty lice eggs. Lice eggs are found near the scalp because they need heat for incubation. They are glued on the base of the hair shafts using the substance called chitin making them stubbornly clinging. They are about 0.8 – 0.3 mm in length. Their color is white before they turn yellowish. They will hatch after 6 – 9 days.
Nits – Head Lice Pictures
Nits or empty lice eggs will remain on the hair shaft for few weeks. They cling weakly compared to lice eggs. Their yellow color will turn to pale white which are often misidentified as dandruffs. They size will shrink smaller than lice eggs.
Treatment for Head Lice Infestation
Once you’ve identified the signs of head lice infestation through the pictures, you should start treatment right away. It’s best to look for treatments that are gentle on your scalp. Your scalp is just as sensitive as your skin, sometimes even more so. What you put on your scalp could affect the growth of your hair.
If you want to use lice killing shampoos or creams, perform an allergy spot test first before buying the product. This will let you know if your scalp can tolerate the treatment. Or you could also use home remedies for head lice, they’re cheaper and safer. They’re not as convenient to use as a lice killing shampoo and the treatment period lasts longer but at least it won’t damage your scalp.
Another treatment option that’s becoming more popular is lice treatment salons. What they do in a lice salon is they treat your hair and use a nit comb on each section of your hair. You’ll need several sessions to remove all your head lice and you need to show up every session to make sure that the lice don’t come back. They’ll even take pictures of head lice that they got from your head to keep as a souvenir!