Where Do Head Lice come from?

Where do head lice come from? This is a very common question that many Toronto residents ask themselves whenever they are faced with lice infestation. Head lice infestation often results in panic, embarrassment and confusion, particularly among school kids who are more prone to it. These tiny reddish brown insects are glued to the hair shaft.

The lice lay eggs, also called as nits, near the hair shaft. These eggs hatch in approximately 10 days before maturing to adult lice in about two weeks. They have a life span of approximately 40-50 days. People often mistake these eggs for dandruff. But once these eggs mature into fully grown head lice within a few days, the lice symptoms become more visible.

Where do head lice come from?

The answer to this question may sound a bit silly, but head lice can come from anywhere and can affect anyone. While lice infestation is often associated with social stigma, it has nothing to do with cleanliness and hygiene. Unlike fleas, lice are wingless which means that they cannot fly. They can be spread only when there is physical contact with the affected person. Usually, they spread when people share objects such as combs, hair brushes, ribbons, scarves, headgear and hats. Infestation may also occur when you share your clothes with an infected person or even try on clothes at the clothing store that were previously used an infected individual. Lice can be transmitted when sitting next to an infected person on a sofa, movie theater or a car seat.

School children are more prone to lice infestation because they make their transportation easy by sharing hair brushes in their bathrooms or using the same protective sports gear, like baseball or football helmets. Hugging a person near you may result in transmission of lice into your head. Sometimes pets may also be a mode of transmission of these pests though they don’t affect pets themselves. Basically, lice is a human parasitic infestation which relies on human blood to survive. After they have transmitted to another person, adult lice can survive for about 8 hours and their nits for about 10 days.


Once you get lice, you might not notice any symptom within the first 2-3 months. Most infected people often experience an itchy scalp. This itching is just an allergic reaction to their saliva which is left when they bite your scalp to suck blood.

Lice infestation might also lead to red, pustular sores. While such sores are harmless, they may attract bacterial infections. These sores occur as a result of excessive scratching of your scalp. A crawling and irritating sensation on your scalp is another symptom caused by the moving head lice. Presence of lice, nymphs or nits in your hair is a sign of lice infestation. Some severe cases of lice may be characterized by darkening of the scalp and hair fall.

While head lice infestation has no serious side effect and do not spread diseases, having it can be a very irritating and painful affair. Therefore, they should be treated promptly not only to get rid of them of them but also to minimize further spread.