Illustration copyright 2002 Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. http://www.nucleusinc.com
Adult head lice are approximately the size of a sesame seed [2.5 mm (0.1 in.) to 3.5 mm (0.14 in.)] and can vary in colour from white to brown to dark grey.
Louse eggs (nits) are much smaller [1 mm (0.03 in.)] and look like light grey or brown oval cylinders glued to individual hair shafts.
Head lice spread easily from one person to another through close bodily contact or through shared clothing or personal items such as hats or hair brushes.
Current as of: September 9, 2014
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine & Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Public Health Alerts
Public health alerts include information about outbreaks, advisories and product recalls. Click on the links below to read the most recent alerts, or visit our Public Health Alerts web page.
FIND Services and Resources
If you are looking for health services in your community, you can use our directory to FIND hospitals, clinics, and other resources.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Is it an emergency?
If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.