Itchy scalp? It could be head lice. These common parasites cause problems for millions of families across the United States every year. When it comes to finding a host, head lice do not discriminate. As families come together this holiday season, it is important to know how to check for lice. Lice travel quickly from household to household and through schools, so it is crucial that any potential lice are dealt with before they have a chance to spread. If you are concerned about head lice impacting your family, use these tips to perform a self-check on you and your family members.
The Right Tools For The Job
No tools are required to check for head lice, but having some on hand can make the process much smoother. Here are a few tools that can help you spot a case of lice:
- Flashlight- finding a small louse in dark or thick hair can be difficult. If you don’t have a flashlight, try to find a well-lit area to conduct your search. Lice are photophobic, so they will try to hide from any light you shine at them.
- Detangler/conditioner- long hair is easily knotted, which can make the lice check more painful than it needs to be. To avoid this, apply some detangler or conditioner to the hair before you start combing.
- Mirrors- having a mirror or two can help you see parts of your head that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. This can help you check the back of your neck and the crown of your head.
- Fine-toothed comb- this tool is perfect for finding and removing head lice. Any comb will do if you are just trying to sort through hair, but the fine teeth ensure that any lice you comb past will be removed.
- Magnifying glass-at just around 3 millimeters in size, the average lice is roughly the size and shape of a sesame seed. Having a magnifying glass can help you by enlarging the apparent size of the lice, making them easier to spot and remove.
What To Look For
Head lice are tiny brown insects that resemble small ants. Their eggs, called nits, are even smaller. The lice attach their nits about an inch or so from the scalp at the base of the hair stem. If the eggs have yet to hatch, they appear gray, brown, or yellow. Once the eggs hatch, the remaining shells lighten in color, making them easily mistaken for dandruff. If you are having a hard time determining whether you are dealing with dandruff or dead lice eggs, try to remove some of them. Dandruff flakes off easily, but the nits will hold firm.
Where to Check
Behind the ears and around the nape of the neck are popular hiding spots among lice, so be sure to check there first. They also hide along the crown of the head and around the hairline. Lice prefer to stay close to the scalp for food and warmth, so be sure to dig deep and check the hair roots.
How to Check Yourself For Lice
A methodical approach works best when it comes to checking for lice. Make sure you are in an area with good lighting and begin the search with your magnifying glass and mirrors. Start by sectioning the hair into several even groupings. Take one group of hair at a time, apply your conditioner or detangler, and begin combing. Be sure to comb through the hair from different angles for the best results. Once you’ve thoroughly combed out the first section, move on to the next one and repeat until finished. Once the comb-through and the inspection are complete, you will know whether or not you have a case of lice.
Stop the Spread of Lice with Fresh Heads Head Lice Removal!
If you think you have spotted a nit or louse, don’t panic! Here at Fresh Heads, we specialize in the treatment and removal of head lice. The AirAlle, our signature head lice removal device, uses gently heated air to dehydrate the lice and their eggs, leaving you 100% lice-free in just under an hour and a half. If you have any questions about our treatment options, or would like to learn more, visit us at one of our locations in Jacksonville FL, Orlando FL, or Savannah GA.
Schools Without Lice
At Fresh Heads Lice Removal, our mission is to get rid of lice in schools across the United States. We’ve partnered with the Lice Clinics of America to create the Schools Without Lice program. Through this program, we provide school nurses and teachers with free screenings, resources, and treatments. Together, we can have schools without lice!