Is your scalp feeling itchy, and you do not know why?
It might be having a head lice infestation.
Head lice can infest anyone.
However, before you start applying lice treatments to your scalp, the first step should be ensuring you have lice.
Although the experience might be unpleasant, it is easier to have another person check lice on your head.
Asking a friend, family member, or physician to check your head for lice is the best method.
However, this might not be the option always particularly for people living alone or single parents.
So, how do I check my own head for lice?
Knowing What to Check For
Before we dive into how to check your own head for lice, an essential element of knowing how to check for lice on your own head is understanding what you are looking for.
When looking for lice, you are predominantly checking for three things; adult lice, nymphs, and nits.
· Adult lice
Adult lice are the easiest option to spot as they move quickly when exposed to light.
These are more minor bugs with legs that might be either alive or dead. These creatures have a grayish tan and are the size of sesame seeds. The adults are often found in the hair just behind and above the ears, near the scalp area, and at the hairline around the neck base.
As you comb and separate the hair, adult lice quickly move back into the hair.
These are immature lice that have immediately hatched.
They have the same shape as adult head lice but are significantly smaller about a pinhead’s size.
At first, nymphs appear tan or very light gray.
They darken as they begin feeding and maturing into adults.
The nymphs mature into adults nine to twelve days after hatching.
Female lice lay eggs that are referred to as nits.
They are oval-shaped and can appear like grains of sand or dirt.
Nits feature a translucent outer casing that contains a nymph.
The eggs appear clear at first, and darkens to a lighter tan as the nymph grows.
The egg’ casing may appear white or clear after hatching.
Nits are mostly attached to the hair shaft, adjacent to the scalp for warmth.
This is why you should ensure you place your comb on your scalp.
More so, it is just as crucial to identify it as finding live lice.
Otherwise, even though you kill the adult lice and nymph and any nits remain, the eggs will hatch after 9 to 12 days, and you will get re-infested.
Checking Your Own Head for Lice
1. Ensure you have sufficient lighting
When checking yourself for head lice, you will be relying on the mirrors. You hence need first to ensure you have brighter lighting.
You can opt for bathroom lights and mirrors as they are often brighter than other rooms.
You can also use a small lamp for additional lighting.
2. Start with using two mirrors that face each other to check your scalp.
Head lice love staying in a warm environment.
You should hence start by checking behind your ears and your neck nape.
Hold your hair back using clips and use a hand mirror to examine the areas closely and clearly.
You are searching for any lice crawling in the area or nits attached to the hair strands.
However, if you have darker hair, it may be harder to locate the lice as they become darker as they feed.
3. Separate the hair to look for any particles near the hair root
Most individuals commonly mistake dandruff for nits.
Nits are made of protein which glues the eggs to the hair.
You should hence try pulling on the particle and check if it dislocates easily.
If the particle slides easily, there is a higher chance it is dandruff.
4. Use a lice comb or a fine-tooth comb to check your head for lice.
To thoroughly assess your own hair for lice, you should separate the hair into small sections and comb through them severally.
Lice combs are smaller than a regular comb, but the teeth are much closer together to efficiently search for nits and lice.
Using a fine-tooth nit comb, get small sections of the hair and pull it through from root to tip.
After each comb through the hair, examine the comb for any lice or nits.
5. Wet your hair
To make it easier for the nit comb to comb through the hair, you should first apply a lice shampoo or conditioner.
Nits and lice are easily seen on wet hair.
After you pull the comb through from close to the scalp to the end, check the comb teeth to see if lice or nits are on the comb.
Comb through every section more than once.
6. Look at the comb closely.
You might consider using a magnifying glass to check the comb every time you pass it through your hair.
Check for any tangled hair, dandruff, fabric, etc., carefully.
Nits will appear as seed-like small casings firmly attached to the hair and will be hard to remove as you comb through the hair.
Closely examining what is pulled and what remains on the comb will determine if you have nits or lice in your hair.
If you come across a small creature moving, you can try to catch it between your forefingers and thumb and tape it to a white piece of paper for closer examination and find out whether it is lice.
We hope you now understand how to check your own head for lice. Remember to put special attention on the sections around your ears and the base of your neck.
Checking your hair for lice is challenging, so focusing on the places that lice are likely to be found can help determine if you have a lice infestation. However, if you don’t get lice or nits in your hair, it might be that you have dandruff or another problem with your scalp.
If this is your case, you should consider consulting a physician for diagnosis and endorsed treatment.