Healthy Living

How to Tell if the Nits Are Dead or Alive

Head Lice: The Power of a Magnifying Glass

How to Tell if the Nits Are Dead or Alive

Key Takeaways

• Enough treatment products: Ensure to use enough products when treating many kids. This will help completely wipe out all head lice.
• Long and thick haired children: Use enough treatment products if your child has long, thick hair. In fact, you should get twice the normal amount.
• The second treatment is vital: Ensure to apply head lice treatment as directed by your physician. Apply the treatment a second time. Experts recommend waiting for about 10 days before applying the treatment again.
• Hair conditioner: Do not use a hair conditioner that can interfere with the active ingredients of head lice medications.
• School: If you suspect that your child is having head lice, report the case to his/her school for action.

A head louse is a parasite that lives on the human scalp and depends on blood for survival. Since their diet consists of blood, they tend to lay their eggs /nits close to the scalp (food source). The eggs will be found attached to the hair on the scalp. If head lice treatments have been employed, it may possibly become difficult to determine if the nits are dead or alive. Therefore, you need a magnifying glass to help you determine if they are alive or dead.

The Power of a Magnifying Glass

Make sure that the nit is turned in such a way that the profile is visible via the magnifying lens. If a louse/nit has hatched, the top part, known as the operculum, will be empty. The soft part of the louse/nit where the louse escapes after gestation is called the operculum. The louse/nit will retain its oblong shape. However, its top will be flat. If it has a full oval shape, then it is alive. You should remove and crush it between the fingernails. On the other hand, a dead nit would have collapsed into itself, making the sides look crumpled.

Moreover, try to check its color. If the color is brown, the nit is either dead or alive. You should, therefore, remove it and crush it using your fingernails. Dispose of it using a plastic bag. However, hatched nits/louse are clear. You can also squeeze the nit to establish the pressure inside it. If the nit is alive, it will pop after being squeezed. However, a dead nit will not respond when squeezed. Ensure that every louse/nit found is killed after every lice infestation.

Why do head lice keep on re-occurring?

Head lice can be difficult and annoying to treat. The reason is that they are very tiny, making it hard to spot them. This makes it hard to determine if they have been completely killed after medication.

Another possibility is that head lice infestation was not completely removed during the previous treatment. Remember, it takes about a month for the infestation to re-occur from a single egg-laying female louse. This can happen if 1 or 2 survived the previous medication or a few lice/nits hatched after the treatment. Usually, some lice may survive due to their resistance to treatment. Survival can also be as a result of not following directions from your doctor when applying treatment.

Tips to help you completely remove head lice

To completely remove head lice, follow these simple tips:

Enough treatment products: Use enough products when treating many kids. This will help completely wipe out all head lice.

Long and thick-haired children: Use enough treatment products if your child has a long, thick hair. In fact, you should get twice the normal amount.

The second treatment is vital: Ensure to apply head lice treatment as directed by your physician. Apply the treatment for the second time. Experts recommend waiting for about 10 days before applying the treatment again.

Hair conditioner: Do not use a hair conditioner that can interfere with the active ingredients of head lice medications.

School: If you suspect that your child is having head lice, report the case to his/her school for action.

Reducing the number of lice on your child’s head is the best thing you can do as far as the management of lice manifestation is concerned. This can be achieved through using recommended holistic treatment options such as combing hair with olive oil to remove head lice and nits. Make sure to use a metal-based nit comb since the plastic ones are not strong enough to remove all lice.