How Lice are Like Mice
I was talking with a client today who called and said that she was certain that her oldest child had lice because they had seen bugs, but that her youngest was good because they had only seen “a couple of eggs.” It always amuses me when people say this, and reminds me of when I told an exterminator that I really didn’t need him because I thought I only had “a mouse” in the basement. He was like, “I hate to break it to you, but if you see one, that means there are at least 10x as many that you don’t see.” It’s exactly the same way with lice. The eggs have to be laid there by a live bug. So, if you see an egg or two up near the scalp, there are likely 30+ more eggs that you are unable to see with your naked eye. AND if you find eggs but see no bugs, don’t forget that the bug or bugs are there, they are just a lot harder to find than eggs because they move very fast. For instance, if you start looking for them on one side of the head, they race to the other side.
While I am on this topic, unless a qualified lice professional has examined your family’s heads with magnifying goggles AND combed everyone for eggs with a good egg comb, you cannot assume they are in the clear. Every week I have to convince moms to bring the child with them that they “know is good” because their school nurse/hair dresser/pediatrician cleared them. Again, unless they have been examined by a trained lice professional with goggles AND combed with an egg comb, you can’t know for sure.
So, the moral of this story is: 1. If you see eggs near the scalp, your child needs treatment and 2. Even though they mean well, hairdressers, pediatricians, and school nurses can very easily miss a newish (3 weeks or less) case of lice unless they are checking with googles and a nit comb. It takes around 4-6 weeks for kids to itch and for copious amounts of evidence to build up.
As always, feel free to call any of our Lice Nannies USA offices to ask us your lice questions. We are happy to help! 614-526-9194.