Guest Post: How Do I Know If My Child Has Head Lice?
By Karen Sokoloff www.LiceDoctors.com 757-609-0509
LiceDoctors makes house calls day and night, 7 days a week, to eradicate head lice naturally in the comfort of your Hampton Roads/ Virginia Beach area home. House calls are available to Virginia Beach, Hampton, Suffolk, Newport News, Chesapeake, and Portsmouth.
Many parents in the Virginia Beach area call us and they are panicked at the thought that their family may have lice. But…how do you identify lice and their eggs (nits)?
WHAT DOES LICE LOOK LIKE?
Before you panic, let’s make sure that you have lice. Head lice have their own unique characteristics. They cannot survive in the house, off the head, so it is rare to find one there. Mature head lice are approximately the size of a sesame seed. They are usually brown but vary according to what life stage they are in, and how long it has been since they ate. They drink blood and turn reddish after a meal. Head lice have six legs that allow them to hold on tightly to hair. Head lice need the warmth of the human scalp so they usually attach to hair that is close to the head as they need to be able to feed from the blood. Lice have a flattened body, and the abdomen is larger than the rest of the body. A female louse is usually bigger than the males.
If you are wondering if lice have wings, the answer is no, Lice do not fly and they never jump. So if you have found something that has wings on your family’s head that you have never seen before, it isn’t a louse.
Lice blend in with the hair, and since they are mobile and move very fast, they are hard to see. If the hair is blonde, the lice will appear lighter than lice in brunette hair. If a louse is found, the most likely place it would be is near the ears and along the nape of the neck. Keep in mind, though, that lice can be anywhere on or near the scalp.
WHAT DO NITS LOOK LIKE?
The best way to see if a family member has head lice during a dry check is to look for nits (eggs). Nits don’t move, like bugs do, so you are not trying to find a moving target. What do lice eggs look like? The nits are the eggs that a mature female louse lays after about a week to two weeks. Each female louse will lay up to ten eggs (nits) daily and will likely live thirty days before it dies. You can see how quickly a lice case can grow if it is overlooked.
What do lice eggs look like? Eggs are oval shaped with a pointy front and a tiny hair-like antenna coming out of the pointy end. They are microscopic when first laid and are easily missed. They have a translucent shell that covers a small brown, baby bug, called a nymph. The outer shell that protects the nymph is very tough and blocks lice-killing chemicals. Don’t worry about nits falling out and reattaching to your hair; nits are cemented to the hair and will not easily fall out. If a nit somehow falls out, it is no longer viable.
What does head lice look like in the hair? It is important to know that because head lice camouflage they are often overlooked by parents. So if you are wondering what does lice look like in blonde hair or what does lice look like in dark hair or red hair, the answer would be it tends to take on the color of the hair it is in. Once the nits are out of the hair and against a white background, they will always appear brown. Dandruff or DEC plugs (which are oily secretions) are white in color, so they will blend right in with the paper towel, unlike lice eggs.
If you are still unsure of how to identify a lice bug or how to find nits, call in a professional. Make sure the service provider is experienced and uses a safe protocol to eliminate lice.