Head lice are small insects. They live on the hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes of humans where they feed and lay eggs. To live, adult lice need to feed on blood. If the lice fall off a person, then they will die within 2 days.
Anyone can get head lice. It is common in school-age children. You can catch head lice by coming in direct contact with an infested person's head or with personal belongings such as combs, brushes, and hats. Head lice can spread as long as lice or eggs remain alive on the infested person or clothing.
Medicated shampoos or creme rinses kill lice. Some medications also kill nits. Permethrin-based medications (such as Nix) are the treatment of choice and may be purchased over-the-counter. Follow package directions closely. Removal of nits is necessary in addition to proper medication. Fine-toothed combs are available to help remove nits from hair. A second treatment is sometimes needed.