Catching head lice early is vital to helping stop the spread of these itchy pests. It can take 2-4 weeks for outbreak symptoms such as itching to show up, if they do at all. By making weekly lice checks a habit at home, you can help stop an infestation before it gets out of control.
How to perform head lice checks
Work under a bright light and use a nit comb to help remove anything you find. Part your child’s hair and watch for movement as lice will quickly travel away from the light.
Look for eggs stuck to the hair shaft near the scalp. About the size of a poppy seed, they often look like dandruff that can’t be easily removed
Pay particular attention to the nape of the neck, behind the ears and on your child’s bangs to the crown of their head. Recently laid eggs are nearly transparent so it’s helpful to examine hair from different angles.
5 easy steps to reduce infestation risk
- No sharing. Remind kids to keep belongings that touch the head to themselves.
- Give them space. Tell school kids and campers to not share cubbies or lockers with friends.
- Go for an updo. When possible, have children wear long hair pulled back.
- Play smarter. Encourage children to avoid games that involve head-to-head contact.
- Keep alert. If you notice your child has symptoms of lice such as excessive head scratching, immediately do a thorough check so you can treat it right away.