Healthy Living

How Is Head Lice Diagnosed?

Head Lice

How Is Head Lice Diagnosed?

Key Takeaways

  • Wet Detection Combing
  • Dry Detection
  • Identify Nits
  • Treatments for Head Lice

The surest way to identify head lice is to spot a live louse. Realizing the presence of head lice in your hair can really be difficult, so it’s good to try combing them out using a detection comb. Detection combing is quick and can be performed on wet or dry hair. Both methods are accurate and highly efficient since washing with a conditioner stops head lice from moving.

Wet Detection Combing

To utilize the wet detection procedure, you should observe the following steps:

  1. Thoroughly wash the hair using ordinary shampoo and thereafter applying plenty of conditioners.
  2. Straighten and disentangle the hair with a wide-toothed comb.
  3. Once it’s possible for the comb to freely move through your hair without dragging, shift to the advanced louse detection comb.
  4. Ensure that the teeth of the detection comb are at the roots of the hair, with the tip of the teeth slightly touching the scalp.

Dry Detection

Gently draw the comb from the hair crown to the edges with every stroke. Check for lice as the detection comb is drawn across the hair. If you identify a louse, carefully trap it against the comb using your thumb to prevent its repulsion by static electricity. Ensure that you comb every section of the hair 3 to 4 times before switching to the next section, until the whole hair is thoroughly combed. 

If you identify lice, you may have to examine the entire family for the same. Treat all people found with lice to avoid further spreading of head lice. Your doctor will comb your child’s hair using a nit comb. If no live lice are found, he or she might perform a series of examinations to confirm the diagnosis.

Identify Nits

Other than detection combing, your doctor might also check for nits in the hair. To identify nits, your physician will utilize a specialized light known as Wood’s lamp, which makes nits look bluish. However, the detection of nits doesn’t necessarily indicate active infestations.

For live nits to incubate, they should be close to the scalp. Nits that are ¼ inches from the scalp could possibly be dead or empty. To ascertain if suspected nits are dead, a detailed microscope examination can be carried out. If no active nits are found, they are probably remnants from previous infestations and do not prove of an active infestation. If head lice are left untreated, they can lead to more serious complications.

Treatments for Head Lice

Your doctor will recommend over-the-counter medications, which are focused on killing the lice or nits. However, these drugs might not destroy recently laid eggs. Hence, an accurately timed second medication is often necessary to terminate nymphs after hatching but before they become fully grown.

Studies indicate that the second treatment should be administered nine days after the first treatment; however, treatment schedules are available. Ask your physician for written instructions on suggested treatment schedules.

OTC treatments are based on chemical substances derived from chrysanthemum flowers. Pyrethrin is highly toxic to lice. Thoroughly clean your child’s hair using shampoo before applying these treatments. Again, rinsing of the hair with whitish vinegar before washing might play an important role in dissolving the glue, which holds the nits or eggs to your hair shafts. Be keen to follow all the instructions provided on the package and thoroughly rinse the hair using warm water. Proper treatment and management can work out perfectly in eliminating head lice.