When It’s Not a Nit (You’re Not Crazy)

Like many parents, I am quietly watchful for head lice, strep throat, pink eye, and a host of other common conditions that make the rounds among school-age kids. We know these communicable health risks do not discriminate. They do not stick to hours of operation. It’s a mixed blessing to say the same about the internet, given how many odd hours most of us have poured over symptom lists and images for an early armchair diagnosis.


If you have ever tried to stay calm at the first sign of head lice, or at least fake it so you don’t freak out everyone around you, good job! It’s a special kind of challenge. Before the days of Lice Happens, I once shuffled my child out of a restaurant before the meal was finished because I looked over to see a headful of … well, what is that? Lice? Time for Operation Everything-is-Fine-I-Just-Remembered-I-Have-to-Make-an-Important-Call!


Head lice identification is tricky for the average person. Maybe you have seen it before, but who knows how long ago, or maybe it was just a picture on an educational pamphlet. You part hair and stare, part and stare, but still no clue. Pale gray or brown color? Check. Size of a sesame seed or smaller, like a poppy seed? Check. And your head is starting to feel itchy, too? Take a deep breath. Remember that you are a sane, rational person. In this case, maybe the process of elimination will work best.


Adult lice and nits, or lice eggs, are easily confused with just about any type of small debris imaginable. Dandruff is the number one culprit. Let’s run through some possibilities. Toiletries: hairspray, sunscreen, soap or shampoo deposits? For the crafty: dried bits of glue or paint? Outdoor exposure: dirt, leaves, aphids or fleas? Toddler shenanigans: cookie crumbs or potting soil?


Any louse-y imposter will be easy to flick or brush out of hair. It might cause minor irritation, but not the degree of itching and discomfort that often comes with a true head lice infestation. An actual louse or nit will be on the scalp, or near the base of the hair shaft. It will hang on to that spot with all its might.


The lice treatment  specialists at Lice Happens understand that identifying head lice can be frustrating, and possibly just the first step of a stressful process. When in doubt, we are ready to deliver professional lice removal service that will outshine your most exhaustive web search every time.