How to Identify Head Lice
How to properly identify head lice is information that every parent with a young child should be armed with. Head lice are almost an inevitability when you have small children attending a school, as at any one time there are likely to be at least one or two children in the school with head lice!
However, identifying head lice can be trickier than you think. It’s not sufficient to have a quick look, or to only assume that your child has head lice when their head starts to itch! We’ve put together a quick checklist of things to look for when you suspect that your child has head lice - make sure to undertake frequent inspections as the sooner you catch head lice, the sooner they can be removed!
Head Lice Complaints
If your child is allergic to the saliva of nits and head lice, they’ll quickly begin to complain of a terrible itching that they can’t seem to get rid of no matter how hard they try! Take their complaints seriously as this could be the first sign they give you that there’s a head lice infestation at play.
Head Lice Appearance
So what are you looking for? Well, head lice can be between 1mm to 4mm and can vary in colour, but they’re usually grey or reddish brown. You’ll find them only on your child’s head. If you can’t spot a head louse, you may be able to see their eggs.
Eggs that contain a head louse are usually a caramel colour, and empty eggs (or nits) should appear to be see through.
Think you’ve spotted a head louse but it looks too small? It’s likely that it’s a baby louise, otherwise known as a nymph - they’re likely to be more red in colour.
Tools For Checking Head Lice
There are a few tools for the job that you can use at home when you first suspect that your child may have head lice. Direct sunlight is best, but if not a bright electrical light will do. You’ll also need a magnifying glass or a pocket microscope as head lice and nits can be difficult to spot with the naked eye.
If possible, try to remove any suspicious items with a pair of tweezers and tape it to a piece of white paper before using the magnifying glass to get a proper look at what’s on your child’s head.
Professionals such as our team here at Nit Not have more advanced equipment that they can use to confirm a head lice infestation, but in the first instance you can use the above tools to check for head lice.
Where To Look for Head Lice?
The most common places for head lice to live are around the ears, the crown of the head and the nape of the beck. They’re likely to lay their eggs close to the scalp but check along the length of the hair too.
The best way to check for head lice and nits is to separate the hair into sections so you can get a good look at both hot spots and the whole head.
Remember, if it can be easily removed with the fingers, it’s likely not a nit or an egg as they are glued to the hair making them difficult to remove.
A Professional Opinion on Head Lice
Once you’ve taken a first look at your child and suspect that it is a case of head lice, we recommend coming to a professional such as our team at Nit Not for confirmation of the diagnosis and proper treatment. Take a look at our services to learn more about how Nit Not can help you and your child