While most people associate head lice with an itchy scalp, and itching is a primary symptom of head lice, many people have no symptoms—at least for the first few weeks of an infestation.
This means it can take up to six weeks for a child or adult to develop itchiness that might prompt a head check. And even then, half the people with lice still won’t exhibit any symptoms associated with lice. Most lice experts encourage parents of young children to regularly check their children’s heads for lice. It is important to check thoroughly, as lice are notoriously difficult to see.
Where to Check for Lice
The first place to check for head lice is around the ears and the nape of the neck. Those are the locations on the scalp lice seem to like best.
How to Check
Experts recommend using a fine-toothed comb to check for head lice. A study in the journal Pediatric Dermatology found that a lice comb is four times more effective at finding lice than a visual inspection alone.
Be aware that dandruff, dirt, and other common debris found in the hair are commonly confused with lice, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Therefore, the best person to perform a head check for lice may be someone trained to identify these parasites, like a health care provider, school nurse, or a professional lice clinic staff member.
What Lice Look Like
To avoid mistaking a louse from a piece of dry skin or dandruff, it is important to know what head lice look like. If you pull lice out with a lice comb, live lice will be moving. If you are performing a visual inspection, use a magnifying glass and light to look for live lice. Lice will flee light. Some recommend wetting the hair first in order to slow the louse’s ability to move.
If you do find lice on a child, don’t panic. Lice don’t cause serious health problems, and lice outbreaks don’t have anything to do with personal hygiene. It simply means that your child had contact with someone that had lice. You didn’t do anything wrong. Staying calm can help you and your child find the right treatment.
New, Faster Options
Many panicked parents rush to drugstores to buy lice treatment products that may not work. Multiple studies show that the vast majority (98 percent in 42 states) of lice in the United States and other countries are now resistant to the most popular over-the-counter lice products. Applying these products can be an exercise in futility.
A new alternative for lice removal is available from Lice Clinics of America—a fast-growing network of professional lice treatment centers. Lice Clinics of America has revolutionized lice treatment with its AirAllé medical device—an FDA-cleared Class I medical device clinically proven to kill live lice and 99.2 percent of eggs in a single session that takes about an hour.
The AirAllé works by using carefully controlled warm air to dehydrate lice and eggs. There are more than 150 Lice Clinics of America clinics in the U.S. and another 100 or so in 20 countries. Lice Clinics of America also offers a home Lice Remover Kit that makes home treatment much easier and more effective.
For more information, visit www.liceclinicsofamerica.com.