Does your child have Lice Eggs? How to tell and where to look
If you are concerned about your child having lice, you want to take a careful look at his or her head. However, chances are you probably won’t see an adult louse. Instead, the most commonly seen symptom of head lice is seeing the nits, which are the lice eggs. In order to check your child for lice, it is important to know where to look.
Anyone can get lice, and therefore get lice eggs. Children are especially susceptible, since they tend to play in work in close proximity to each other and have clean hair. Surprisingly enough to some people, lice actually prefer clean heads.
Lice eggs are just part of the life cycle. Approximately 1-2 weeks after being laid, lice eggs hatch into nymphs. The nymphs must feed on the blood of the host right away or they will die. The nymphs that survive grow into adult lice, which then lay more lice eggs, continuing the cycle. Lice eggs are laid along the hair shaft close to the scalp. The adult louse attaches the lice eggs to the hair with a strong, sticky substance that holds it there, keeping eggs from falling off or even being washed away with traditional shampoos.
When to check for lice eggs
You should check for lice eggs as soon as you suspect that your child has lice. Symptoms of lice, and therefore lice eggs, include an intense itching along the scalp, neck, and behind the ears. You should also check your child for lice, even if there are no symptoms, if a friend, classmate, or family member is diagnosed with lice. It can take a week or two for lice eggs to hatch and the nymphs to start biting, and not everyone is sensitive enough to the bites to be bothered by them.
Where and how to look for lice eggs
Lice eggs are very tiny, and may look like white grains of sand attached to the individual strands of hair. They can often be confused with pieces of dandruff, though a good rule of thumb is that if it is difficult to remove, then it is probably lice eggs.
To look for lice eggs, you will want the brightest light possible. Direct sunlight is best, though you can use a bright lamp if you need to work indoors. Magnification also helps – an inexpensive pair reading glasses, the kind that magnify the words and can be bought at your local retailer, will allow you to get a closer look at the lice eggs and make sure that you do not miss any.
To check the hair, use clips to pull it into sections and check for lice eggs. If you see lice eggs, you will want to pull them off with your fingers or a comb, or cut the hair down close to the scalp. Removed lice eggs should be dropped into a bowl of water and discarded.
If you see lice eggs
If you do see lice eggs, the important thing to do is treat them. Besides shampooing to kill the adult lice, manual removal of all lice eggs is essential to prevent re-infestation. Soaking the hair with oil can make lice eggs easier to remove, and nit combs can help speed up the process. You will need to check for and remove lice eggs on a daily basis for two weeks, at which point you will want to repeat the shampooing to make sure that all the lice and lice eggs have been removed.