The dreaded colored letter comes home from your child’s school or camp program. Someone in his/her class or group has lice.  What are you to look for? How do you really know if your child has lice?

Parents check their children’s heads when these notices come home but most often they really do not know what is is they are looking for. Knowing what you are looking for is really key in this case and can make or break your situation.

When examining your child’s hair for lice, you will want to look for the nits or the eggs- not the actual bug or lice. The nits are glued to the individual hair shaft. You will not find the nits on the scalp. The reason you are not always looking for the the bug or lice itself is because when you open up or separate the hair, the head lice will move away from the light and the touch of your hands. They also move very, very fast and crawl from each hair to the next in less than a second. The nits do not move. They are also not white. They go from a light brown to a dark brown color. If what you are seeing appears like a sesame seed and feels like a sesame seed, then it is a nit. If you are confused, try and move it. A dandruff flake will move and a nit will not move at all.

Another way to check is by taking a lice comb and combing through the hair and checking to see if anything comes out when wiping the comb on a paper towel. If after combing, nothing comes out, then all is ok. When checking your child’s hair, you will want to check their hair for at least 15 minutes and check very thoroughly. If you do not find anything at that go around, then wait a week and check again. When nits are first laid, they look translucent or clear and are very hard to see.

Hopefully this will provide some clarification as to what to look for when those dreaded letters come home in the backpacks. Remember, lice is not anyone’s fault, and when in doubt, you can always contact Potomac Lice Lady. We are just a phone call away.


Lauren Salzberg