If you or your child have been experiencing an irritated scalp, it is important to check for lice. Head lice are a common problem, especially among school-aged children. Though head lice do not pose much immediate danger, they can be highly irritating and spread to others. Left untreated, head lice can lead to serious bacterial infections. Due to their small size and off-white color, they can be easy to mistake for other conditions such as dandruff or eczema. If you think you might be dealing with a case of lice, use these tips to help you identify them.
How to Spot a Nit
Nits are another word for lice eggs. These eggs are found routed at the base of the hair shaft, close to the scalp. Nits appear off-white or yellow and live inside small oval-shaped eggs. Before the nits hatch from their eggs, the color of their shell can closely resemble the hair color of their host. After the lice find a good spot to lay their egg, it takes about 6-9 days before they are born. Once the eggs hatch, the shell that remains can appear white and flaky, making it easy to mistake for dandruff. The best way to tell them apart is by brushing through your hair. Dandruff will fall out and the nits will hold fast.
Nymphs, or Baby Lice
After the eggs incubate for about 12 days, the offspring will emerge as nymphs or baby lice. These newborns are about as big as a pinhead but will reach maturity in just 7 days. Nymphs have the same body shape as their more developed counterparts. With six legs and a large abdomen, these parasites look like small tics but are slightly more translucent.
What Does Lice Look Like
Once a nymph has reached maturity, it becomes a full-fledged louse. Fully developed lice are approximately the size of a sesame seed and appear off-white or gray. Their six legs get slightly longer and have tiny claws for gripping hair. The female lice are larger. Once the nymphs become lice, they are ready to start feeding and reproducing. Under normal conditions, head lice will live for close to 30 days before they fall out.
How to Check For Lice
Now that you know what to look for, find a source of good light to help you check for lice. Start by sectioning the hair into several equal parts. Take the first section and begin to comb through it, looking for any signs of lice. For an easier combing process, add a detangler or conditioner to help the comb glide through the hair. As you are combing, make sure to comb in several directions to help you get any clingy nits or lice. Remember to take your time and be thorough. Once the first section is done, just move on to the next one until the whole head has been checked.
Visit Lice Clinics Of America for Lice Treatment in Spartanburg SC
If you want to learn more about head lice, what they look like, and how you can deal with them, visit Lice Clinics of America at one of our locations in Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson. If you are still unsure of whether or not you have lice, come in for a screening and consultation. Our team of head lice technicians are experts at both finding and removing lice. If head lice are found, we can help you pick the treatment plan that works best for you and your family.