How to Identify Head Lice

Your child just came home from school, and she’s been scratching her scalp furiously. Your son just attended camping, and his fingers have been fidgeting in his hair, but he won’t ask for help. You probably think it might be head lice, but again you aren’t sure. Identifying head lice, especially if it’s your first time encountering them, can be daunting. It could easily take you into panic mode with all the worries about how far the lice could have spread and how to identify these lice treatment places. Here’s how to confirm the presence of head lice.

What are you looking for?

You will be looking for tiny insects that hide within the human scalp. Head lice infestation occurs typically among children, and it’s possible to transfer them from one person to another through direct contact. According to most lice removal companies, presence of head lice infestation doesn’t necessarily signal poor hygiene or dirty living environments. Therefore, it’s possible to see head lice in clean and regularly washed hair. You don’t have to beat yourself for not paying more attention.

How do you identify head lice?

Common symptoms of head lice infestation include:

Itching

The first warning sign is scratching the scalp repeatedly. You will notice your child scratching certain areas of the scalp, especially around the ears, neck, and temples. This usually is an allergic reaction to saliva from the louse. The itching tends to stay for more than two weeks and doesn’t go even after washing with a mild shampoo.

Visible lice on the scalp

Lice may be visible when put under bright light. They are however difficult to spot with the naked eye as they are tiny in physical structure and have the ability to move quickly.

To detect head lice easily, wash the hair to slow down the lice, and put it under bright lighting conditions. Use a comb to partition sections of the hair while looking out for the lice. Your priority should be to inspect the base of the hair that’s most airy and moist. The neck, temples, and around the ears tend to be the target areas for female lice and their eggs.

Lice eggs are not easily identifiable by the naked eye because they are too small when you’re looking for head lice removal. You can use a special light known as the Wood’s lamp. Under Wood’s lamp, lice will appear blue. Normally, where the lice are located, close by should be the eggs. Try to distinguish between a dead and living nit. Live nits (eggs) are colored in caramel and located close to the base of the hair about a centimeter from the scalp. They are more challenging to spot. Dead nits are empty, brightly colored and located further away from the scalp away from the body’s warmth.

Other symptoms that could signal lice infestation include:

  • Having a tickling sensation of something moving in your hair, body, or head.
  • Sores from scratching the scalp.
  • Difficulty sleeping due to irritation.
  • Red bumps on the neck, head and sometimes shoulders.

It’s often easy to mistake dirt for lice and nits. Empty nits don’t necessarily confirm the presence of active lice infestation. Until you catch one of the insects moving, then can you prove that your child has been harboring lice in their scalp.

Final note

These above-discussed facts spell out the basics on how to identify head lice. Only the presence of a live head lice eggs or live adult lice pass you to conclude that a person is infested with lice. Once confirmed, begin necessary precautions and professional lice removal to prevent further infestation and spread of the head lice.