How to check for lice. Lice can be a real nuisance, especially head lice in children, who are prone to sharing brushes and combs at school. If you suspect your child has lice, or if you have it, here's how to check for lice at home.
How to get rid of head lice is a frustrating question that most parents ask at one point when their children are infected with lice. Public schools, with many heads to a classroom and only one set of teacher's eyes to make sure the whole class isn't doing anything to help lice spread, such as sharing a brush or a comb, is a dangerous equation that leads to lice infection even in the cleanliest children and families. But how to get rid of head lice? The first to get rid of head lice begins by identifying lice. Here's how to check for head lice if you child comes home from the school nurse with a note about head lice at school.
Where do lice hide, might be your first question, quickly followed by, "where do lice lay their eggs?" These are two very important questions when diagnosing head lice. The female louse lays her eggs at the base of the lice infected person's hair, and glues the lice eggs down with a hard, cement like substance, which makes lice removal virtually impossible with a simple brush or comb. However, identifying lice can be easy if you know what to check for, and you can be on your way to buying medication to kill lice sooner.
To check for lice, begin by parting all of the person's hair who has a suspected lice infection from the crown or bangs to the back of the neck. This will allow you to check for lice more easily by exposing the scalp where lice hide in the hair. If you can't find lice in the person's hair, check for lice more carefully using a magnifying glass to easily check for lice. Checking for lice and identifying lice is an important step; just because someone appears louse free at first, doesn't mean that they are. Adult lice look like small brown flecks, and blend in well with hair, precisely what lice evolution designed them to do, especially in dark haired children and adults.
Next, to check for lice, part the hair again from the front of the hair to the neck, but this time, off to one side on the scalp, and then the other. This will allow you to check for lice more clearly, by exposing more of the hair where lice may be hiding.
Next to check for lice, lift the hair from the back as though in a ponytail, to check the neck and ears for lice. The hair isn't the only place to check for head lice in children. Lice also like the warm areas around the hair, such as the neck and ears, so check for lice on these areas also. Moreso, it may be easier to spot lice and nits in these areas of less hair on fair skinned children, where nits, white in comparison to brown adult lice, may be harder to spot to begin with. Also, if the child or adult you're checking for lice has bangs, lift the bangs and check for lice toward the front of the hair, where lice hide as well.
If you haven't found any adult lice, breathe a sigh of relief, but know that you're not of the woods yet. Repeat the proceeding steps to check for lice nits. The infection may only include nits, or lice eggs, at this point, without any adults present. Adult lice may have died off, while first leaving behind louse eggs. Nits are smaller than adult lice, about the size of a sesame seed and white in color, so be sure to have your magnifying glass handy to see them, especially in fair haired children or adults with lice.
If you haven't found any lice when you check for lice with a fine tooth comb so to speak in the hair, then have the person infected with lice lean over a white towel, and rub their hair vigorously. This will not dislodge the nits, which are lodged onto the base of the hair firmly with a cement-like substance secreted by the female louse, however, it will dislodge the adult lice, and help you to check for lice more easily if you don't spot lice with a magnifying glass at first.