How To Check For Lice

by Ravi Teja Tadimalla

 Head lice is a more common term used to denote a condition formally known as pediculosis capitis. These lice do not spread any significant disease, other than causing the menace of scratching your head with unending persistence.

It is necessary to know how to check for lice so that you know how to get rid of them too. Here, we discuss the various ways you can check for a lice infestation. We also tell you how you can deal with the same.

How To Differentiate Between Lice And Dandruff? 

Most people often confuse lice with dandruff. Learning to differentiate between the two is the first step to understanding if you have a lice infestation. Both conditions cause a scalp itch (1).

The following pointers can help you differentiate between the two:

  • While lice lay eggs on the hair, dandruff occurs on the scalp.
  • Lice can easily spread between people, while dandruff is not contagious.
  • Lice itch usually occurs in intervals, and you experience a crawling sensation on your scalp. Dandruff gives you a severe itch when the scalp is dry (1).
  • Lice are tiny and appear like small brown bugs. Dandruff appears as yellow/white flakes.

This is how you can tell head lice from dandruff. Let us now understand how you can check for head lice.

What Is The Best Way To Check For Lice?

Do you feel the urge to scratch your scalp? It is possible you could be battling lice infestation. If the itch is also accompanied by a crawling/tickling sensation on your scalp, you may be sure of your head lice. Full-grown adult lice on your scalp could grow up to 3 mm long and have flat and wingless bodies. With their six legs, they can crawl along with your hair and scalp with ease. The lice eggs usually stick firmly to your hair. You can remove them with a fine-toothed comb (1).

You will need various tools to check for a lice infestation and. Removing lice also involves certain procedures. We will cover them all below.

Tools

Here are some tools that can help you check for lice infestation and treat it:

  • Find a space with a bright light that allows you to check your scalp with ease.
  • You will also need a comb with very fine teeth and hair clips.
  • You will also find several shampoos that can be used on wet hair and leave-in products available at pharmacies.

Procedure

Check for head lice often to ensure they do not spread. Here is how you can use the tools mentioned above for the best results.

  • You will need a mirror to get a good view of your scalp. Ensure there is bright light or even natural sunlight. This will help you avoid excess eye strain while detecting lice. If you are checking lice for someone else, you may also use a magnifying glass.
  • Ensure your scalp is wet as lice cannot move around easily in this condition. Certain medicated shampoos may douse the lice for an hour or so, making them easily detectable. Shampooing and conditioning your hair can help you remove lice easily.
  • Part the hair into sections and secure each with clips or bands while working on a particular section.
  • Move a fine-toothed comb from the scalp to the hair tips in slow, steady movements. After each run, check the comb’s teeth to see if you have caught any dislodged lice.
  • Repeat the process on all the hair sections till you cover your entire head.
  • Carry out this procedure at least once a week to relieve yourself of lice.

You may also learn how to check for lice without a comb and pick them with your hands. But this could be more challenging.

We have listed a few more methods to deal with a lice infestation.

Other Ways To Deal With A Lice Infestation

  • Choose a relevant prescription medicine, a shampoo, or a lotion, and apply it to the scalp as per the directed quantities.
  • Check for lice on the scalp after the treatment and comb out the dead lice with the help of a fine comb.
  • Repeat the procedure every 2 to 3 days in combination with combing to remove lice.
  • Clean the surfaces that may come in contact with your head.
  • Change your prescription product (after consulting your doctor) if you do not see results even after 2 to 3 weeks.
  • At-home remedies such as hair oils might help, though research about their efficacy is limited. It is best to choose silicone-based products for removing head lice (2).

Final Words

It is difficult to pinpoint who might actually experience a lice infestation. They are common to both genders and almost all age groups (though they are more common in children). Anyone is bound to have them if exposed to someone or something that transfers lice to their head. While conventional treatments using oils might be insufficient to treat head lice, you may use certain silicone-based products to achieve the desired results. Check for head lice today. Should you have the infestation, start treatment right away.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

How common are head lice?

Head lice are extremely common, especially in children.

Will the shampoo you use to get rid of lice ruin your hair?

Most shampoos for lice are strong as they are meant to get rid of head lice quickly. However, they may not pose a great threat to hair as they are usually not used for long.

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Ravi Teja Tadimalla

Ravi Teja Tadimalla is an editor and a published author. He graduated from SRM University, Chennai, and has been in the digital media field for over six years. He has a Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition & Research from Wageningen University. He considers himself a sculptor born to chip away at content and reveal its dormant splendor. He started his career as a research writer, primarily focusing on health and wellness, and has over 250 articles to his credit. Ravi believes in the great possibilities of abundant health with natural foods and organic supplements. Reading and theater are his other interests.
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