4/25/2010

Do You Really Have Head Lice? How To Check It Out.



If you suspect that someone you know has head lice, check it out.
If you think you might have head lice, find a buddy to check for you.

1. Comb through the hair to remove all the tangles.

2. Ensuring that are looking under good light, go through the hair section by section, and hair by hair looking for any lice eggs or bugs. You can use your fingers to do this, or you can use a regular comb to gently pull away a few hairs at a time for examining. You only really need to look for any lice activity from the scalp to approximately 3 inches off of the scalp, though be extra diligent in your search if find older lice activity farther away from the scalp. It may help to use hair clips to keep the hair in sections. Look through the hair from different angles, looking over the hair and under the hair.

3. Check for nits (live eggs or hatched eggs). Don’t waste time wondering if eggs are live or hatched – if you have them, you have a problem. Their eggs are like tiny oval drops that are yellowish-white and are completely glued to the hair. On dark hair, they can look white and on light hair, they look dark. If you see something on the hair, flick it with your finger or try to brush it away. If it moves, it is NOT a nit. Also, look at its shape – is it a completely uniform oval shape? If not, it is not a nit. Now, having nits DOES NOT guarantee that you will have an active case of head lice. It does mean that you should investigate further.

4. Watch for live bugs. The baby louse starts out as small as a tiny speck of pepper. After hatching, it is completely clear in colour, but it turns red after its first meal, and it then turns a translucent brownish colour as it grows. Its colour is enhanced by the colour of the hair it is in – head lice look darker in lighter hair and can easily blend in with darker hair. A louse is as big as a sesame seed when it is fully grown. If you see a bug, remove it immediately. Note, in dry hair, bugs run from the light and can move very quickly through the hair. In wet hair, bugs stay still so after checking for eggs, you should comb through wet hair with a fine tooth comb to see if you comb out any bugs. You can add some hair conditioner to the hair to make combing easier.


5. Start wet combing. Here's where the real checking begins. It's great if you have a metal lice comb but this can even be done with a plastic fine toothed comb. Wet your already detangled hair and coat it with some cheap hair conditioner. Comb through the hair from scalp to tip and check the comb after each stroke for lice (this probably won't remove any eggs or tiny bugs, but adult lice can still be caught this way). Keep on combing until you have counted to at least 100 (or found a bug, whichever comes first).


At the first sign of bugs, switch from doing lice checking to doing lice removal. If you have any questions, give me a call. Good Luck!

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