Head Lice Picture Gallery

Lice Basics

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Head Lice Pictures

Head Lice Infestation in Girl with Long Hair
Head Lice Basics Head Lice Infestation in Girl with Long Hair. Vincent Iannelli, MD

Head lice infestations are a common and frustrating problem for parents and kids. Unfortunately, some kids get treated inappropriately and unnecessarily for things that look like lice, but actually aren't.

These head lice pictures can help you to identify when your child has live lice on his or her head. And remember that you usually only need to treat your child with a lice shampoo when you see live lice. If you only see nits and are sure there are no live lice, you can just be careful to remove all of the nits.

Head Lice Infestation in a Girl with Long Hair

A young girl with a head lice infestation. Although it is hard to see it, there was a large, live louse in the shot a second before the picture was taken, which just goes to show how it can be to find lice sometimes, especially in girls with long hair.

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Adult Head Louse - Magnified Head Lice Picture

Adult Head Louse
Head Lice Pictures Adult Head Louse. Vincent Iannelli, MD

A picture of an adult head louse.

A magnified picture of an adult head louse. In reality, mature head lice are about the size of a sesame seed.

This is probably a female head louse, since it is a little 'fatter' than a male. It can be seen with a strand of hair for size comparison.

Note the characteristic six legs of this crawling insect. If you magnified this louse even further, you might be able see the small claws on the end of their legs that lice use to grasp hair.

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A Picture of an Adult Male Head Louse

Adult Male Head Louse
Head Lice Pictures Adult Male Head Louse. Vincent Iannelli, MD

A picture of an adult louse, which is likely a male, since it is a little skinnier than typical female head lice.

A magnified, out-of-focus, picture of an adult head louse.

This louse is likely a male, since it is a little skinnier than typical female head lice, as seen in this other lice picture.

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Head Louse Close-Up Picture

Head Louse Close-Up Picture
Head Lice Pictures Head Louse Close-Up Picture. Vincent Iannelli, MD

A close-up picture of a live head louse, which can help you to identify head lice on your child's hair during a lice infestation.

Although this head louse is magnified, you can use the nearby strand of hair for comparison to understand how big head lice really are.

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Head Lice Pictures

Head Louse Picture
Head Lice Pictures Head Louse Picture. Vincent Iannelli, MD

A picture of a head louse, which can help you identify when your kids have lice.

An unmagnified picture of a head louse, so that you can know what to expect when you search your child's head for live lice.

Remember, instead of worrying when you think your child has head lice, you should first confirm that your child has head lice. Reviewing head lice pictures like this one can help you understand what you are looking for, including live lice and nits (lice eggs) in your child's hair.

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A Picture of a Head Louse

Head Louse
Head Lice Pictures Head Louse. Vincent Iannelli, MD

A picture of a head louse near a child's hair to show scale and so you can see how big head lice really are.

The head louse in this picture is magnified, but near a strand of a child's hair to help you understand the scale that has been used and make it easier to find lice in your child's hair.

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Looking for Head Lice - Do you See Them?

Head Louse on a Girl's Head
Head Lice Pictures Head Louse on a Girl's Head. Vincent Iannelli, MD

Head Louse on a Girl's Head

Can you spot the head louse on this girl's head in this picture of a young child with a head lice infestation?

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A Picture of a Live Louse on a Child's Head

Live Louse on Hair
Head Lice Pictures Live Louse on Hair. Vincent Iannelli, MD

A picture of a live head louse on a girl's head, with a red circle around the louse and a caption to make identification in this head lice picture easy.

Here is the louse on the child's head if you couldn't find it yourself...

Instead of worrying when you think your child has lice, you should actually confirm that your child has head lice. Reviewing some lice pictures like these can help you understand what you are looking for, including live lice and nits (lice eggs) in your child's hair.

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Pictures of Nits

Head Lice Nits Picture
Head Lice Pictures Head Lice Nits Picture. Vincent Iannelli, MD

An out of focus picture of a nit on a child's hair who has an active head lice infestation, with a lot of lice lice and nits in her hair.

It isn't a great picture, but can you spot the nit?

Remember, nits are the eggs of lice.

Nits are small, oval shaped and usually a yellowish-white color and are firmly attached to the side of hair shafts. Simply having nits does not necessarily mean that your child has live lice though, since some nits may be empty egg casings and some may have dead, non-infective lice embryos inside.

Nits that are close to your child's scalp are the ones that are most likely to be infective and are the ones that are thought to hatch into live lice, a process that takes 7 to 12 days. Continuing to get new nits, even after you have removed nits from your child's hair, is also likely a sign that your child has live lice on her hair and needs a lice treatment.

Since a live louse will typically lay up to 10 eggs a day, if your child only has a few nits, then she likely doesn't have an active lice infestation.

Keep in mind that the American Academy of Pediatrics is against no-nit policies that exclude children from school because they have lice. In fact, the AAP now states that 'No healthy child should be excluded from or allowed to miss school time because of head lice.' This is likely a big surprise to all of the parents who have had their kids sent home from school because of head lice.

To add to the confusion about head lice, some people only use the term nits to refer to empty egg casings and lice eggs when talking about viable lice eggs. Others use the term nits to refer to both viable lice eggs and empty egg casings.



Sources:

American Academy of Pediatrics Clinical Report. Head Lice. PEDIATRICS Vol. 126 No. 2 August 2010, pp. 392-403.

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More Pictures of Nits

Head Lice Egg or Nits Picture
Head Lice Pictures Head Lice Egg or Nits Picture. Vincent Iannelli, MD

An out of focus picture of a nit, or head lice egg, with a caption and red circle around the nit to make identification easy.

Did you find the nit on your own?

Instead of worrying when you think your child has lice, you should confirm that your child has head lice. Reviewing some head lice pictures like these can help you understand what you are looking for, including live lice and nits (lice eggs) in your child's hair.

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Lice Life Cycle Picture

Head Lice Life Cycle Stages
Head Lice Pictures Head Lice Life Cycle Stages. Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Having a hard time figuring out what you are looking for when you think your kids have lice? This picture of the 3 stages of the head lice life cycle can help.

This picture shows the three stages of the head lice life cycle, including the head lice egg or nit, nymph, and adult louse, as compared to the size of a penny for scale.

Lice Life Cycle

A mature or adult head louse can lay up to 10 eggs or nits each day.

These nits, or lice eggs, hatch in about 7 to 12 days. Baby lice or nymphs are about the size of a pinhead when they hatch, and quickly mature into adult lice in about a 9 to 12 days.

In just a few days, adult lice are ready mate, starting this lice life cycle all over again during their 3 to 4 week lifespan.

Of course, a proper lice treatment regimen can interrupt the lice life cycle and help you get rid of the lice on your child's hair.



Sources:

American Academy of Pediatrics Clinical Report. Head Lice. PEDIATRICS Vol. 126 No. 2 August 2010, pp. 392-403.

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