How to tell if you have lice

Head lice are tiny, parasitic insects that live in hair. Nits, or eggs, attached to hair close to the scalp and are very difficult to see from just a visual check. Head lice are a common problem, particularly in school children aged 4-11, though they can happen to anyone of any age. They’re largely harmless, though irritating, and can live in the hair for a long time if not treated. Once lice has infested a head, it can be stressful, frustrating, and costly to deal with.

Size and colour of lice

Head lice can be difficult to spot, even when the head is closely inspected. They’re very small, can appear whitish (on dark hair) or grey-brown, and 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, though it does depend on how sensitive your scalp is. 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 objects in your hair close to the scalp that you can’t brush out.

How to be sure?

The only way to be sure is if you see a live louse or by combing the hair with a special fine-toothed comb. If you are unsure if you have it or not, the first step we take to determine if an infestation is present is a head check before treating. If we find anything, we’ll show you so you know what to look for.

To check for lice at home

Get your child’s hair wet in order to slow the lice down. Use a good steel nit 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 technicians
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