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How To Check For Head Lice and Nits?

how to check your child family for head lice nits bugs

Updated on September 17, 2020

Updated By Karen Sokoloff

Head lice and nits (lice eggs) are very tiny and camouflage with the hair. If you have never seen lice or lice eggs before so how are you supposed to identify them on the head?

How To Check For Head Lice Eggs?

When checking for lice and nits, it is best to start somewhere with plenty of light. Outside is best, but next to a window with sun light is good. If that is not an option, pick the brightest room in your home or get a lamp. 

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Start your search looking for the lice eggs. Lice eggs are usually found within ¼ inch of the scalp and blend in with the hair which makes them a challenge to find for a novice. They can appear tan, white, brown or black on the hair and are found on the individual strands of hair. Since lice eggs are glued to the hair, they are difficult to remove. Pinch what you’ve found between your fingers and slide it all the way down the hair strand to remove it. To confirm that what you are looking at is a lice egg, place it on a white piece of paper. Against a white background they will look brown or tan. The reason for that is that the nit has a translucent shell that houses a brown baby bug nymph. The shell may obscure the nymph in the hair giving the egg a whitish cast. The nit has an antenna on the front pointy end and is oval in shape. At maturity, it is the size of a sesame seed. 

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Lice, the bugs, are brown or translucent depending on what time their last meal was and are about the size of a sesame seed. They have 6 legs, antennae and do not have any wings. If bugs are present, they will likely be closer to the scalp as it is the warmest place on the head. Often, since they are mobile, you most likely will not see a bug until an infestation has been present for some time. Not many bugs make their homes on human heads, so if you suspect a lice infestation and find a bug on the head, it most likely is a louse. 

When searching for a lice infestation we recommend searching mainly for the nits. This will help you catch an infestation early. As mentioned, the bugs are mobile, so the likelihood of finding a couple of eggs when an infestation is in its early stages with only a couple of live bugs, is much greater. The earlier an infestation is found, the easier the treatment will be.

How To Check For Nits On Yourself?

While how to check yourself for head lice eggs nits bugs lousechecking for nits on your family may be manageable, we know how difficult it is to check yourself for head lice, even if you know exactly what you are looking for. However, recently when I started noticing some odd itching on my own head I was able to figure out the very best way how to check for head lice eggs on myself. You will need a good quality nit comb; we recommend the Terminator, some form of lubricant like olive oil  for your hair, and a few white paper towels. Detangle your hair and then apply your lubricant. Once it is applied run your nit comb through small sections of your hair. After each swipe through your hair, wipe it on your paper towel. If you have lice, you will see eggs and/or bugs on your paper towel. Now I have a lot of experience with head lice. This can be especially tricky to do if you are not an experienced head lice picker. 

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To ensure infestations are caught in the earliest stages, we recommend checking once a week. If you find lice, or need a hand determining if your family has an infestation, call LiceDoctors at 800-224-2537 and technician will come to your home as soon as you need help. Technicians check the same way that they treat, so if an infestation is found they will right away treat it for you. Your lice technician will have the expertise to check, identify, comb, and remove all nits from the hair while educating you on ways to help prevent future lice infestations. 

Lice On The Head