How to Tell if Your Child Has Lice

“A case of head lice has been detected in your child’s class.” It’s a note no parent wants to receive! But how do you know what to look for? Connecticut Children’s primary care physician Paula Lucuara Revelo, MD shares an easy, step-by-step way to check for lice or nits (lice eggs).

How to check for lice and nits:

  • First, grab a fine-tooth comb. If your child’s hair is long, you’ll also need a few hair ties.
  • Have your child sit in a well-lit area.
  • If hair is long, part it in the center, and tie into pigtails.
  • Check the nape of the neck and behind the ears. These are hotspots for lice.
  • Undo one of the pigtails and, using a fine-tooth comb, slowly fan through sections of the hair, and work your way to the top.
  • Repeat throughout the entire head.

What to do if you find lice or nits:

  • If you do find nits or lice, call your pediatrician and follow the prescribed treatment plan.
  • Wash clothes, bed linens, towels and anything that touches the head.
  • Put non-washable items like stuffed animals and decorative pillows in the dryer for 20 minutes, or in a sealed bag for two weeks.


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