How to Check for Lice and Nits in Children

Most Lice infestations include only a few dozen lice — although cases of much heavier infestations are on the books. That’s why close inspections to find lice and nits in children really are the only choice. You don’t want to put your child through insecticidal treatments if he’s just got dandruff. 

How and Where to Find Lice in Kids’ Hair

The only way to confirm the presence of head lice is by seeing either the adult lice or their eggs in the hair. The use of a bright light and a special nitpicking comb — available from your pharmacist — are especially helpful in aiding this search.

Adults who want to check their own children can search for lice by checking behind their ears, at the crown of the head and at the nape of the neck.

Magnifying glasses may be helpful. Every parent should own a magnifying glass — which should prove just as useful in removing bee stingers and ticks as it is in recognizing lice.

How to Find Nits in a Child’s Hair 

Nits are found on the hair shafts near the base of the shaft. They look like an elongated football. A waterproof, cement-like substance is used to firmly attach a nit to a hair shaft. The presence of nits does not necessarily mean a child has an active infestation.

They might be left over from a previous infestation that was adequately treated. To have an active infestation, there must be a louse present, or the nits must be on the hair shaft less than 1/4 inch from the scalp. Lice lay nits on the hair shaft at the level of the scalp.

As the hair grows, the nits will appear to move along toward the end of the hair shaft. Nits take about one week to hatch, and can only be removed effectively with a fine-toothed comb,