Skin Channel
Related Channels

What You Need to Know About Lice

How Are They Transmitted?

Lice are very contagious. Direct contact with an already infested person is the most common way that head lice and pubic lice are spread. Body lice are most often spread through contact with infected clothing or bedding. Pubic lice and body lice can also be spread this way, but it is less common than direct contact.
The insects are quite active and can travel quickly, which explains why they are transmitted so easily. However, they are not long-distance travelers, and they do not do well away from the host. Although adept at moving from hair to hair, they cannot jump or crawl very far (from the floor to someone's head, for example).
(Click any of the links below for more information on how each type is spread:
(Click Lice Prevention to learn how to prevent any of these types of infestations.)

Life Cycle of Lice

There are three stages of a louse's life:
  • The egg (also called a nit)
  • The nymph
  • The adult.
(Click What Do Lice Look Like? to see pictures of the three different stages.)
The life cycle from egg to egg is approximately one month.
The Nit
Nits are head lice eggs. They are very small (about the size of a knot in thread) and hard to see. Nits are often confused for dandruff or hair spray droplets. They are oval and usually yellow to white. They take about one week to hatch. Once hatched, they are white or clear in color.
6 Quick Tips for Getting Kids to Take Medicine

Information on Lice

Terms of Use
Advertise with Us
Contact Us
About eMedTV
Privacy Policy
Copyright © 2006-2019 Clinaero, Inc.
eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind. Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click Terms of Use for more information.