Head Lice Check Guidelines
Worried someone in your family has lice? Follow these simple head check guidelines to learn more.
Where Do I Start?
The key to doing a quick and easy head check is having a good nit comb. If you have a plastic one that came in an OTC kit, throw it away. A metal one is the best to do checks, and the Terminator comb is the best one the market to do checks, as well as to do comb outs. If you do not have a good nit comb, you can still do an effective visual check.
Checking With A Nit Comb:
- Start at the nape of the neck on damp hair; comb straight up into the hair with the tips of the comb touching the surface of the scalp. Be sure that you insert the comb until the hair reaches the base of the comb.
- Pull the comb all the way through the hair until you have pulled it out at the ends of the hair. Never pull the comb out in the middle of the hair; if there are nits present, you will leave them in the hair where you pulled the comb out.
- Tap the comb into a bowl of water (the bowl should be white on the inside) or into a sink filled with water. If there are nits or bugs present, you will see them floating in the water; they will appear brown. You should also be able to see them in the comb; however, sometimes it is difficult to determine the difference between nits and flakes caught in the comb.
- Instead of using a bowl of water, a white paper towel can also be used to clean the comb. Nits and bugs will be visible on any white surface, but the water method is our preferred method.
- Continue to comb (with the comb coming into contact with the scalp every time) around the nape, above the ears, front hairline, and up the center of the head from the front hairline back to the crown. These are the “hotspots” where it is most likely to find nits. This does not mean that if you don’t find any in these spots, that the are 100% clear. If it’s a new case, its possible it can go undetected by only checking the hotspots, but if the child has had it more than a couple weeks, or you do this check once a week, you will most likely find signs of it in the areas mentioned above.
Checking Without A Nit Comb:
Good lighting is the key when visually checking
- Section the hair into 4 quarters
- Start in the back at the nape and pull the hair down in fine paper-thin sections.
- Look for signs of nits on the hair within a quarter of an inch from the scalp. Lice lay their eggs as close to the scalp as possible (always on the hair shaft, never directly on the scalp).
- A nit may appear pearl like in color, tan, or darker brown. It all depends on the stage of the egg. What doesn’t vary is the way if feels.
- If you detect something that appears to be an egg, run it between your thumb and finger. If it feels like a seed and doesn’t come off the hair when you roll it between your fingers, it is probably an egg. If it falls off hair when you run it between your fingers and you can’t really feel it, it is probably other debris from the scalp.
- Continue to check in small subsections around the hairline of the whole head and the crown.
- Keep in mind that you are looking for the nits/eggs. It’s a bonus if you see a bug, but they are mobile and hide well while you are checking.
If at any point you do detect nits and or live lice, please call us to schedule a confirmation head check and treatment if necessary!