"Oh, I check my kids every day!"
I hear it all the time. The rub here is that most people don't own the tools to do a complete and thorough head check at home. For some reason, the majority of drug stores don't carry good nit combs. I'm going say it and risk sounding like a used car saleswoman...you NEED to have a solid stainless steel comb (not with metal teeth and a plastic handle, not a plastic comb) with microgrooved teeth. There, I said it.
Come on, ask me why.
Because unless that comb really grabs the hair, you will never find everything there is to find. The same goes for treating lice. If you try to rid the hair of viable nits with a substandard comb, you will be there for a while. I want to get an audio recording of a woman who has become one of my groupies (if, in fact we concede that Lice Ladies can have groupies), who stood up at a PTA meeting at which I was making a presentation, and shouted, "You have NO idea what a difference a good comb makes!!" I want to play it for parents who think that I am just trying to make more profits by selling them a comb. The truth is, it's not a consumable item. I can't ever sell them one again. I just really want every parent I come in contact with to have the best comb out there. And honestly, I never want to see them in my office for treatment again. I mean that.
So, if you are going to do a really thorough head check on your kids, every week, until they leave for college (yup...you heard me) here's what you need: some butterfly clips, a rattail comb, a spray bottle (unless you do it straight out of the tub/shower), some paper towels and a GOOD QUALITY STAINLESS STEEL NIT COMB. Did I say that loud enough? OK. With girls who have longer hair, this process is actually easier than it is on short-haired boys, if you can believe that. Start by parting the hair down the middle of the head, as if to make ponytails. Further divide each half of the head into several sections. Depending on the thickness of the hair, size and number of the sections will vary. Then section by section dampen the hair (unless it's wet already), comb through with the rattail comb to remove knots, and then comb through with the nit comb. Comb in the direction of the 4 winds, NSWE, meaning from the top, bottom, and each side. Bring the comb down the scalp and pull straight out. On boys with shorter hair, comb systematically around the head. After several swipes with the comb, clean the comb with the paper towel and examine the towel for any suspicious items. Nits are small sesame seed shaped things that can range in color from light tan to dark grey-brown. If you find something suspicious, and you aren't sure, you can bring it to your local head lice professional or to a school nurse or physician to verify. If you do find a nit, that is a definitive sign of infestation and you need to take next steps.
Please do your checks weekly. It's a nice time to bond with the kids and it will pay off for you if you ever do find a problem. Early detection makes treatment so much easier. Always pursue non-toxic treatment options, like the FDA-cleared LouseBuster(TM). You can find a service provider in your area by visiting Larada Sciences. Email email@example.com for more information on head lice treatment and detection.