It’s happened and you definitely have head lice! You immediately have a million questions. Where did they come from? What do you do to get rid of them? And probably the scariest of all how long have they been there? It can be unsettling not knowing how long they’ve been crawling around, but we are here to help you get an estimate on how long you’ve had head lice.

The Lice Life-cycle

Close-up view of a louse egg on hair shaft

The best way to determine how long you’ve had lice is to know the life cycle of head lice and determine where in it the lice are:

  • A lice infestation begins when the lice that have spread to a person’s head begin to lay their nits or eggs.
  • The nits can be found close to the scalp and will begin to hatch within 7-10 days
  • Over the next 7-10 days the nymphs (hatched nits) will continues to grow and mature. Before reaching full maturity, they will shed their exoskeleton three times. During the final molt their gender will be determined based on what is needed in the colony.
  • Once gender is determined females will begin to mate and start the process over.

Female nits will mate only one time but will continue to lay up 10 eggs for the rest of their 30-33 day lifespan. You can use this cycle to now determine the estimated length of your infestation.

How Long Have You Had Lice?

Lice egg or nit on hair shaft up close

Knowing the details of the lice life-cycle can help you determine the stage your particular outbreak is at and possibly even the severity of it. Most infestations are noticed 30 days after the nymphs have reached maturity, making it easier to see them in the hair. To examine your scalp wet the hair and comb through it with a fine comb and flashlight. Take note of the different stages: casings (shells from hatching), nits, nymphs, and number of adults. If there are a larger number of nits than adults, it is safe to say you’ve had the infestation longer than 30 days. You can also use the placement of nits to determine the amount of time it’s been. Lice lay nits as close to the scalp as they can and hair grows at the average rate of 1 cm a month. If nits are 1cm from the scalp it’s been one month, 2cm it’s been 2 months, and so on.

What To Do With This Knowledge

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While knowing how long you’ve had head lice won’t mean much for how you treat the lice it can help with other important factors. You can determine where you got the lice and inform others you may have come in contact with. Knowing where you got the lice from can help you avoid that situation in the future. Being able to inform others you may have been in close contact with during the  time of the infestation can help them get a head start on checking for lice and help prevent further infestations.

How To Get Rid Of Head Lice

Heated air device being used oncurly hair

Getting rid of head lice is a lot easier than most think thanks to Lice Clinics 805. Our signature treatment removes both head lice and nits in one quick, guaranteed treatment. The full service treatment uses a special blend of minerals and oils to dehydrate and kill lice and nits. Our professionals are trained and knowledgeable on all things lice and ready to help you get back to being lice free!

If you have any questions or need a head lice removal treatment, don’t hesitate to contact us. At Lice Clinics 805, which proudly serves Ventura, Santa Barbara, and surrounding areas in California, we are here to help! Our removal process guarantees to remove head lice in 1 quick, and safe treatment. Let us help your kids and family members get back to the things they enjoy. Call us today to schedule an appointment at 805-334-0951!