Ok, so we aren’t giving every parent a free pass to constantly gripe at their children. We are talking about another form of nitpicking altogether. One of the most effective ways to catch head lice early on is by doing regular head checks on your children. This practice dates back to homo sapien times when groups of our early human ancestors and chimpanzee families would literally sit around for hours “nit” picking head lice and body lice off of each other to help relieve the itching and irritation. This original form of nitpicking is exactly what parents can be doing now to help keep their family protected from head lice. It often takes weeks for a case of head lice to manifest symptoms. Checking scalps often and thoroughly can be your first indication that you have a problem. So, how do you nitpick the good way?
Nitpicking Tips for Parents:
1. Make sure you are using a nitpicking comb. Lice Clinics of America sell effective nitpicking combs that are specifically made to sift through hair strands and remove nits or live lice as they come into contact with the teeth. These are also readily available through Amazon or any general store. Having the right tool for the job can make sure you are not wasting your time and doing it effectively.
2. Be able to identify nits, nymphs and adult lice. Lice grow in three stages. Nits or lice eggs are laid near the base of the scalp on individual hair strands. Eggs will be small in size, transparent in color and difficult to peel off. Once the eggs hatch, nymphs are minuscule in size and difficult to spot. They spend 9-12 days growing at this stage until they have developed into a full grown louse. Lice fully grown are the size of a sesame seed, brown in color and will quickly scurry away from light.
3. Know where to look. First, wet the child’s hair and brush through with hair conditioner. Lice are most often behind the ears, at the crown of the head or along the neckline. Carefully comb through these areas searching for nits, the most obvious sign of head lice. Get a paper towel to wipe off the comb after each stroke and examine any traces of what’s coming off the comb.
4. Perform head lice checks often. Head lice are a problem all year round, however, the most critical times for head lice are back to school, summertime, and vacations. Particularly after these times make sure you are checking your children for head lice. Summer camps are a big problem for head lice, sleepovers, or even participating in sports teams. The more often you check, the better you will get at it and the easier it will become.
5. Be patient with yourself. Even school nurses who are checking hundreds of kids for head lice every year make mistakes in diagnosing the problem. Research, practice and remember that you will get the hang of it. Contact the Lice Clinics of America, Medway if you have any questions or concerns. Our professional staff is here to help you in the fight against head lice.