How to check for lice & nits by yourself

Written by mike parker
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Lice are tiny parasitic insects that live and feed on human hosts. Depending on their type, lice can infest the head (head lice), the body (body lice) or the pubic area (crabs, pubic lice). Lice are commonly spread by direct contact and most cannot survive for long once separated from their human host. Some lice are known to be carriers of serious diseases, and all lice bite and can cause itching and possible allergic reactions and infections. Checking for lice on your own body is a moderately easy thing to do as long as you have patience and a good magnifying glass.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Directional lamp or flashlight
  • Magnifying glass
  • Fine-toothed comb
  • Mirror

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  1. 1

    Move to a comfortable, private area. Position a directional light, so it shines on the area of your body that you suspect is infested with lice. Remove your clothing.

  2. 2

    Hold the magnifying glass, so you can comfortably examine your pubic area. Crabs, pubic lice, live on the pubic hair shafts. Check small sections of pubic hair for live lice or their eggs, which are called nits. Nits will resemble bits of dandruff that are attached to the pubic hair shaft and are difficult to remove.

  3. 3

    Position yourself in front of a mirror. Use the fine-toothed comb to part the hair on your head. Examine the part in the mirror through the magnifying glass for live head lice. Look for movement as head lice will try to hide from the light. Continue parting the hair at 1/8 inch intervals. If no live head lice are discovered, check for nits attached to the hair shafts around 1/4 inch from the head. Nits may be difficult to self-diagnose, as lice tend to lay their eggs behind the ears and on the back of the neck where they are hard to see.

  4. 4

    Examine the seams of your clothing through the magnifying glass for live body lice or their eggs. Body lice and their eggs may be large enough to see without the use of a magnifying glass, but a magnifying glass will make the task easier. Although body lice are most commonly diagnosed from examining the clothing of a person, live body lice can sometimes be seen crawling on the body.

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