Visual Checks vs Combing: What’s More Effective?

Visual Checks vs Combing: What’s More Effective?

Feeling a tickling sensation in your hair can be disconcerting, especially because then you can’t help but wonder if you are being attacked by head lice. If you suspect that you are dealing with creepy crawlers hiding in your hair, knowing how to spot the tell-tale signs of their presence is crucial if you want to treat lice symptoms in its earlier stages.

When proving your suspicions, there are some tried-and-true ways to identify a head lice infestation. Some of the most common methods are visual inspections and the wet-comb method. But this begs the question: which of the two would provide more accurate results?

Visual Inspection vs. Wet Comb

Head lice infestations are a common, albeit frustrating, occurrence in children. Parents can easily detect signs of lice in a child’s hair by looking closely at the scalp, but using the wet-comb method proves to be more effective at confirming lice’s presence.

Visual inspections often utilize an applicator stick, which is used to safely part the hair without running the risk of infecting other children. While it offers the fastest way of spotting head lice, the accuracy is only at around 70%.

While visual inspection can be a useful method when spotting a child with a highly active lice infestation, children that carry only a few lice can easily slip under the radar. Even a single nit or louse can pave the way for more lice, putting other children’s heads at risk.

Why Is the Wet-Comb Better?

Research has found that applying conditioner to children’s hair and using a fine-toothed comb yields better results compared to visual inspections. In an observational study involving 304 students, only 79 children were identified with nits when relying on eyes alone.

On the other hand, combing wet hair from the scalp down to the ends identified 91% of children in the test, proving that the wet-comb method is a more reliable approach to spotting lice in its different stages.

The Best Option for Detecting Head Lice

While there are two popular methods for identifying the presence of head lice, visual inspection and wet-combing, wet-combing has a higher sensitivity since it can easily detect lice even in its early stages. Although visual inspections can provide a quick pass for children in a classroom or other group settings, it can’t match the accuracy of the wet-comb method. Since wet-combing is the most thorough method, it’s the one you’ll want to use for checking your child.

Head Checks by Trained Professionals

Spotting head lice doesn’t have to be a tricky ordeal. Be sure to watch our video on how to check for lice, and don’t forget, at Fresh Heads Lice Removal, we conduct professional head checks for the entire family. If you are concerned you have an itchy head lice problem on your hands, visit our professional lice treatment centers in Orlando, Savannah, and Jacksonville to help you determine if you are dealing with a pesky situation.

Lice Removal Clinics in Orlando, Savannah, and Jacksonville

Fresh Heads Lice Removal offers lice prevention tips, head lice checks, and professional treatments. Get checked today so you can seek treatment before it spirals out of control. Call us or book your appointment online.

Schools Without Lice.

Schools Without Lice

Our mission at Fresh Heads Lice Removal is to eradicate lice from schools across the US. We’re partnering with the Lice Clinics of America to create a Schools Without Lice program. Through this program, we provide school nurses and teachers with free resources, screenings, and treatments. If we work together, we can have schools without lice!

Woman checking for lice on her own head.

How to Check for Lice on Your Own Head

If one of your children has lice, it’s important to do a head check on yourself, as well as all the other members of your family, in order to detect lice early and prevent a full-blown infestation. Many people feel a bit apprehensive about checking their head for lice for the first time and are a bit unsure of where exactly to start. We’re here to outline some tips for how to check your own head for lice—tips that you can also use when checking other family members.

How to Check Your Own Head for Lice

Checking a child’s head for lice tends to be a little easier than checking your own, since you can lean in for a close look while working. However, the steps for a lice check are the same regardless of whose head you’re checking. In order to check your own head for lice, follow these steps:

  • Work with hair when it’s damp, such as after a bath or shower.
  • Using a detangler will help the comb glide through the hair more easily, especially if you have wavy or thick hair. Apply your detangler of choice and comb it through completely.
  • Now grab your nit remover comb and lay it flat against your head at the root of your hair.
  • Glide the comb all the way from the scalp and roots down to the ends of your hair.
  • For short or medium hair, comb all your hair to the right, then back to the left. Repeat by combing front to back and back to front. For long hair, you’ll part hair down the middle. Place one side in a ponytail while you comb through the loose side. Then switch.
  • Pause about every 5 strokes to wipe the comb onto a white paper towel and inspect it check for nits/lice.

What Exactly Am I Looking For?

A critical part of knowing how to check for lice on your own head is knowing what to look for. When checking for lice, you’re primarily looking for three things: nits, nymphs, and adult lice.

  •  Adult Lice: Adult lice are the easiest to spot. You’ll see small bugs with legs, and they can be dead or alive. They are grayish tan, and are typically the size of sesame seeds.
  • Nymphs: Nymphs are immature lice that have just hatched. They have the same shape as adult head lice, but are much smaller—about the size of a pinhead. Nymphs start out very light gray or tan, but darken as they start feeding and maturing into adults. Nymphs reach maturity 9-12 days after hatching.
  • Nits: Nits are the eggs laid by female lice. They are extremely small (barely visible to the naked eye) and oval-shaped, and at first glance can just appear like grains of dirt or sand. Nits are comprised of a translucent outer casing that houses a baby louse (nymph) inside. They start out clear, and then darken to a light tan as the nymph grows. After the nymph hatches from the egg, the empty casing can appear clear again, or white. Nits will be “glued” to the hair shaft, close to the scalp for warmth, which is why it is important to make sure you position your comb at your scalp so as to not miss them. Note that it is just as important to identify nits as it is to identify live lice, because even if you kill the adult lice, if any nits remain, they’ll hatch after about 8-9 days, and you’ll be re-infested.

Head Lice Clinics in Jacksonville and Orlando, FL, and Savannah, GA

Learning how to check for lice on your own head can be difficult. At Fresh Heads Lice Removal, we are experts at identifying and treating lice. Our professional technicians and experts take a safe, effective and affordable approach to treatment, stopping lice in their tracks using cutting-edge technology. If you are interested in learning more about our lice treatment options, contact us today.

Schools Without Lice.

Schools Without Lice

Our goal at Fresh Heads Lice Removal is to get rid of lice in schools across the United States. That’s why we partnered with the Lice Clinics of America to create the Schools Without Lice program. This program gives nurses and teachers free resources, screenings, and treatments. Together, we can have schools without lice!

How Long Does It Take to Catch Head Lice?

How Long Does It Take to Catch Head Lice?

Your child may have lice–now what? If you are a parent in a state of panic after discovering that your child was around a classmate or playmate that has lice, you are not alone. We often get calls from stressed-out parents wondering how long it can take for their child to get a case of head lice after being exposed, and what the process of checking for head lice involves.

Immediate Diagnosis

Contracting a case of lice can occur immediately after your child is exposed to them. If your child has their head in contact with (or near) someone with lice, it only takes one live female louse to crawl onto your child’s head to start a lice case. Once you find out that your child has been exposed to someone with an infestation, it is possible for you to catch it early by checking for head lice. If you can spot a live crawling bug, you can identify the case early and get treatment underway.

Diagnosis After Weeks of Onset

While immediately spotting head lice is ideal, in most cases, it takes a few weeks after exposure to accurately identify and diagnose lice on your child’s head. Usually, a louse crawls up the hair strands to reach the scalp. Once on the scalp, it remains there and lays eggs, in which case it will be more difficult to spot immediately.

Female lice are capable of laying six to ten eggs a day over a period of a month. This means that within a few weeks, your child can potentially have over 100 eggs in their hair. So, while it is essential to keep routinely checking for head lice, keep in mind that without the proper tools, lighting, and experience the average untrained individual may have difficulty spotting them until they become advanced.

Professional Head Lice Removal in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Savannah

Contacting a reputable lice service can help you diagnose, treat, or prevent a full-blown lice infestation. At Fresh Heads, our professional technicians are experts at checking for head lice. We have locations in Jacksonville and Orlando, FL, as well as Savannah, GA.

We can identify eggs or lice at any stage of infestation and get your child the treatment they need at an affordable price. We stop lice in their tracks using a completely safe, FDA cleared medical device, so that we can help your child return to life as healthy as quickly as possible. To learn more about our list of services and featured products, contact us today!