Free Lice Advice



Diagnosing lice is no simple matter. An itchy head doesn't always mean lice, and lice don't always lead to itching. Some people have lice but never feel itchy. Other people get red marks from the reaction to the bites. The louse is nocturnal, so they are most active while you are asleep. The only way to know for sure is to check the head. Here are the 2 ways to check for lice:

Method 1

Look through the hair and scalp for eggs and live lice. Do this by slowly looking through 1 inch sections of dry hair row by row starting at the base of the neck and moving forward toward the forehead. Focus on the hair closest to the scalp. The nape of the neck is a common breeding area for lice. A chopstick or a wooden pencil will help you to part the hair each time. Look on both sides of the part paying close attention to the hair within an inch of the scalp.

You are looking for two things:                                                                    

  1. Nits (eggs) are tiny greyish-brown "pussy willow bud" shaped ovals that will not come off of the hair very easily. Usually they are attached to the hair shaft very close to the scalp (if you  blow on them and they don't move, they are probably nits) pictures of a nit If you find nits, you need to do a full Treatment     
  2. Live Lice (bugs) are small brownish-grey insects ( picture of a head louse) They move very fast, so  chances are you won't see them.   If you find lice, you need to do a full  Treatment.                                              

When in doubt, go with Method 2 below.

Method 2

This is the most thorough way to check for lice, especially if you are having trouble seeing anything in the hair.  Wet the hair and towel dry. Next, coat the entire head in a heavy-duty thick conditioner. (Pantene Medium-Thick, Frizzy to Smooth conditioner works the best) Make sure that the scalp and hair are truly saturated. Next, use a metal  (picture of nit comb) nit comb to methodically comb through the entire head, scraping along the scalp with each stroke. (The plastic ones do not work well at all.) The best product on the market is the Nit-Free brand. Comb in four directions: Front to back. Back to front. Right to left. Left to right. After each stroke, wipe the comb onto a moist white paper towel (the lice and nits will show up like greyish-brown specks against the white background). The bugs will be slow-moving,  and stuck in the conditioner. The nits will also be trapped in the conditioner. The conditioner will not kill the lice or eggs. The conditioner has a dual purpose:  The bugs often get stuck in the conditioner and the eggs become visable against the whiteness. If you find eggs or lice, you need a full treatment. Go to Treatment .

If you are not sure, seal whatever you find in a plastic baggie (or scotch tape it to a piece of white paper )and take it to a health care professional or school nurse who can help identify lice and eggs (If you're anxious, you could do a Treatment anyway - it can't hurt).

IF YOU HAVE LICE, YOU DON'T NEED TO PANIC OR FEEL EMBARRASSED (see Preparing your child). Just get on top of it, and you'll be pleasantly surprised how quickly you can beat it.