How To Detect Head Lice
How to do a visual head check
- Check clean dry hair in sunlight or bright indoor light
- Inspect small sections of hair 1/4″ – 2″ from the scalp
- Look for tiny immovable teardrop shaped nits, varying from cream to brown colored, on hair shaft
- If found treat properly and tell school, friends and family to check
- Check weekly until college
How to do a combing head check – For a more thorough search
(This is the best way to check if you have a good metal nit comb)
- Perform on damp or towel dried hair and make sure it is free of tangles
- Section hair by clipping hair on top of the head leaving 3-4” of hair down in the back of the head at the nape of the neck
- Start combing with the metal nit comb by very gently scraping the comb along the scalp and dragging the comb all the way to the end of the hair shaft
- Wipe the metal nit comb clean on a white paper towel after every few strokes
- Inspect paper towel for nits or lice (If unsure what you are finding, click on Nit Support to learn how we can inspect it for you.)
- Let the next 3-4” of hair down. Continue combing and wiping the comb on the paper towel
- Complete the combing throughout the head. (takes 5-10 minutes)
- If lice or nits are found, please treat properly and tell school, friends & family to check a few times for 3 weeks
- Check weekly until college
If you find even just one nit, you need to…
- Treat properly using safe and effective products (be wary of over-the-counter products that contain pesticides – – lice have grown resistant to the pesticides – – and they are never safe to apply to your child’s scalp).
- We also recommend the products used in our center, Lice Lifters® products – 100% safe and non-toxic.
- Launder items that have been worn as well as linens that have been used. Just put into the dryer on hot for 30 minutes. Lice do not burrow, live long off the head, or go to our pets. See The Great Clean Up house cleaning tips.
- Communicate with your community, car pools, play dates, school, teams, family and friends that you have lice.
- Relax! Lice are harmless, just a nuisance. They have been around a long time. You will get rid of them.
Head Lice Prevention
- Check your family weekly for nits by doing a combing head checks on wet hair. If lice are detected in your community, check 2-3 times per week for a period of 3 weeks. Remember, at any given moment, 3% of school-age children have head lice.
- Visually inspect brushes for bugs. Brushes with a lighter background make it easier to spot lice. Keep brushes free of hair where lice can hide and do not share. Pinch the hair out of any brushes and combs after each use.
- Wear hair in a gathered ponytail, bun, or braid. If your child is old enough and is coordinated enough you can teach them to do their own hair up dos. Even if it is not perfect, they will love it and be very proud.
- Do not share coats, jackets, hoodies, hats, sweat shirts or towels.
- Never share hairbrushes, combs, hair ties, headbands, etc. Even in your own house. Have a brush and/or comb for each person in your house. A plastic stackable shoebox is a great way to keep each person’s hairbrushes and accessories separate. Each person can decorate their own box and put their name on it. They can decorate their own brushes/combs to match their box.
- Wear a hoodie sweatshirt to sit on public or movie seats and tuck all hair into the hood. Bring a towel and drape the towel over the seat or bring a sticky lint roller then clean the seat back with the lint roller
- You can use a mint or citronella spray as a deterrent. Apply in the morning before school and again before an afternoon activity or play date. Be advised, this is NOT a treatment. You must also do the other precautions as well to avoid possible infestation.
- Lice are survivors. If you make it easy for them, they will find a human host even if you’re using a deterring mint spray.
Narrowing the Target – Up-Do Hair Do Suggestions
Girls with medium-length or long hair should wear their hair up when going to school, camp or activities. Your objective is not to have loose swinging hair. Head lice are fast travelers and will move quickly to a new host just by hair touching someone else’s hair. It‘s best to have hair pulled up in the back of the head and not on the sides where hair is more vulnerable.