This is a question I get often. Often it’s a call from a Mom who is trying to keep calm but sounds on the verge of a mental break down. It usually goes like this: Caller: “Hello, is the Dublin Lice Nanny?” Me: “Yes. How can I help?” Caller: “I am SO GROSSED OUT! I just found a bug in my daughter’s hair. I think it might be lice. OMG what does lice look like? Could it be something else? Do we really have lice?!” Often I hear the poor child crying in the background saying something similar to this: “I don’t want bugs in my hair, get them out!”
Sorry to say, if you are seeing bugs that are moving in your child’s hair, I am 99% sure you already know the answer to your question. These cases (where you can actually see bugs moving) are the easiest cases to identify. The problem is, that these are the exception. Most children that have lice, do not have a case advanced enough to see multiple bugs with the human eye (this would likely be an infestation at least 6 -8 weeks old –YUCK!.)
So back to the original question-What does lice look like?/Is this lice?/Do I have lice?
- Lice are grayish or brownish bugs with 6 legs.
- They are super small-think the size of a sesame seed.
- They are FAST-it makes it very hard to actually spot one from simply picking through the hair (which makes this a poor way to identify lice.More on the best way later)
- They don’t have wings/don’t fly.
- Their eggs are called “nits” and they are also grayish/brownish and are oval.They attach to one side of the hair shaft.They are often mistaken for dandruff, so picking through the hair is again not the best way to identify lice or nits. They are about the size of a knot in a thread.
So, if picking through the hair is not the best way to identify lice, what is? Tune in tomorrow… 🙂