Head lice

Pediculosis capitis - head lice

Head lice are tiny insects that live on the skin covering the top of your head (scalp). Head lice may also be found in eyebrows and eyelashes.

Lice can be spread by close contact with other people.

Head lice

Head lice infect the scalp and hair and can be seen at the nape of the neck and over the ears. Head lice spread easily and quickly but do not carry disease as other lice do.

Nit on human hair

This photograph shows a nit, or tiny white egg sack, attached to the shaft of a human hair. Image courtesy of D. Scott Smith, MD, MSc, DTMH.

Head louse emerging from egg

This is a photograph of a head louse emerging from an egg. Head lice have become an increasing problem in schools and day care centers. Some grade schools have started programs to examine children for head lice.

Head louse, male

This is a photograph of a male Pediculus humanus var. capitis, a head louse. Head lice have become an increasing problem in schools and day care centers. Some grade schools have started programs to examine children for head lice.

Head louse - female

This is a photograph of a female Pediculus humanus var. capitis, a head louse. Head lice have become an increasing problem in schools and day care centers. Some grade schools have started programs to examine children for head lice.

Head louse infestation - scalp

This is a close-up picture of lice egg sacks (nits) on the hair. They cling to individual hair shafts. (Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Lice, head - nits in the hair with close-up

This photograph shows the nits or tiny white egg sacks attached to the hairs. Schools often insist that these be entirely removed before a child returns to school.

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

Outlook (Prognosis)

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Prevention