Head Lice Prevention: How to Identify Head Lice
“The biggest reasons that head lice spread is the stigma,” Ben Silva, owner of Lice Clinics of Canada in Kitchener explains. “Parents don’t like to talk about it and are often embarrassed”. “Many times, wasting a lot of time and money on products or methods that don’t work”. The next most common reason is that parents don’t know how to identify head lice.
That’s why it’s so important to check your child’s head regularly. Especially when children return to school from summer vacation and other school breaks. To check successfully, parents need to understand what they are looking for.
“You have to know what lice look like, but you should also know how and where to look,” says Ben. “There’s a misconception that if children aren’t scratching their heads, they don’t have lice.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, “When a person has an infestation for the first time, itching may not occur for two to six weeks after infestation”. So, don’t wait until your child experiences itchiness to check for head lice. Plus, many people will not even itch at all. Once itching starts, however, the infestation is usually more advanced and more difficult to treat.
At Lice Clinics of Canada, we recommend checking for head lice every two weeks or so. Even more often around the start of the school year, big holiday gatherings and summer camps.
What to look for
Adult head lice are about the size of a sesame seed and live within a quarter inch of the scalp. The hot spots are around the ears, the nape of the neck and the crown of the head. However, you can find them on anywhere on the head. A visual inspection with a rat tail comb or a chop stick is ok but it’s best to invest in a Nit-Free Terminator comb.” Ben said.
Differentiating lice from dandruff, dry skin, or residue from hair sprays or gels isn’t easy,” explains Ben. “We suggest you wipe the comb on a white paper towel. If something is moving, it’s probably a bug. If it’s not moving, is tan in colour and is tear-drop shaped it could be an egg (often called a nit). A quick Google search will give you an idea of what they look like.
“If you want to be sure, we offer professional head lice screenings here at Lice Clinics of Canada in Kitchener” explains Ben. “Newborn lice or nymphs are so small that they are hard to identify with the human eye. We generally use our microscope to identify them and show them to the clients up close. It is a good idea to have a professional head screening if unsure. You certainly don’t want to treat your child if what he or she has is not head lice.”
A professional screening will give you peace of mind. If the professional lice technician determines a child does have head lice, they can be treated on the spot, and leave the clinic lice-free in about 90 minutes.”
Lice Clinics of Canada in Kitchener has a secret weapon—the AirAllé®. A Health Canada-cleared medical device which is clinically proven to kill live lice and their eggs (nits) in a single treatment. The device uses precision-controlled heated air to dehydrate lice and eggs, so it is non-toxic and pesticide free. Best of all it is a “one and done” treatment and is guaranteed to be effective. The AirAllé has successfully treated more than 650,000 cases of head lice in more than 350 clinics around the world.
If your child doesn’t have head lice (Hooray!), you can pick up Lice Clinics of Canada’s head lice prevention sprays, conditioners, and shampoos — all help prevent head lice by repelling lice with a scent pleasant to humans and very unpleasant for lice.
We recommend our prevention products be used like mosquito repellent. Apply them daily any time you think your child is going somewhere she might be exposed to head lice.
To learn more visit www.liceclinicsontario.ca or to schedule an appointment call 519-208-LICE (5423).