What Are Lice?

Head lice are tiny, wingless insects that live in human hair and feed on tiny amounts of blood drawn from the scalp. (Go ahead and take a second to shudder. It’s perfectly normal.) Adult lice are about the size of a sesame seed and usually light gray or light brown in color with six legs that end in a little crook. Their eggs, called nits, are attached to hair shafts and are roughly the size of a grain of sugar and feature a pearly shine. It is more common to spot nits in hair than adult lice since they scurry away from light.

While lice are a common occurrence, they are not dangerous and they don’t spread disease. However, head lice are contagious, most commonly spread by sharing hairbrushes, combs, hats, helmets, and pillows, or in physical play that puts heads in contact. 

 

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