True story. When I was 12 and my sister was 8, we were home alone after school. The school nurse had just picked through my classes hair looking for nits and lice. So I had lice on the brain. I came home and saw white stuff in my sister’s hair and completely freaked out. Had her in tears. I thought for sure she had lice. We called my Mom at work (she was a nurse, working in a very busy office, and we frequently called her 10 times between the hours of 3pm and 5pm!) “MOM! Paige has lice on her head. They are EVERYWHERE. I can see them moving!”
Mom rushes home with some drugstore chemicals (maybe they actually worked back then? She checks Paige’s head and lets us know that it’s only dandruff. Not lice or nits. Perhaps this was my introduction to being fascinated with lice? Mistaking dandruff for lice is very common. Even school nurses have a hard time sometimes. So, how can YOU tell?
The best way is to get a good lice comb (I prefer the Nit Free Terminator Lice Comb. Lather up your child’s hair with conditioner (any kind will do) and comb out the hair for approximately 5 minutes. Wiping the goop on a white towel. If you see any gray/brown flecks that look like rice but are a LOT smaller, then your child has nits and probably lice Dandruff won’t show up on a white towel. Also, if you try to “flick” the white thing from the hair and it moves away, it’s dandruff. Nits are glued to the hair shaft and don’t easily move. One last tip. Nits are attached to one side of the hair, not wrapped around the whole piece of hair.
So there you have it. That is how you can tell the difference. SO, does YOUR child have dandruff or nits?