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How to tell if you have lice

Head lice are tiny insects that live in hair. Nits are the empty egg cases attached to hair that head lice hatch from. Head lice are a common problem, particularly in school children aged 4-11. They’re largely harmless, but can live in the hair for a long time if not treated and can be irritating and frustrating to deal with.

Size and color of lice

Head lice can be difficult to spot, even when the head is closely inspected. They’re very small whitish or grey-brown insects that range from the size of a pinhead to the size of a sesame seed.

Do lice itch?

The most common symptom of any type of lice is itching. Lice bites cause an allergic reaction that causes this itchy feeling. However, you may not notice any symptoms for up to six weeks the first time you get lice.

Other signs

A tickling feeling of something moving on your head, hair, or body. You may also notice the appearance of lice eggs, or small white objects in your hair that you aren’t able to brush out.

How to be sure?

The only way to be sure someone has head lice is to find a live louse by combing their hair with a special fine-toothed comb. At Lice Clinics of America this is the absolute first step we take to determine if an infestation is present before treating.

To check for lice at home

Get your child’s hair wet in order to slow the lice down. Use a fine-toothed comb to part your child’s hair, then shine a bright light onto their scalp. If your child has lice, you’ll notice small, brown insects the size of sesame seeds moving around or nits that look like they’re cemented on to individual hairs.

Come in for a lice check by our trained professionals
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