How are lice diagnosed in children?
Although lice and nits are very small, they can usually be seen by the naked eye.
Parents can do a head lice examination at home to determine if their child has an infestation. A head lice examination involves dividing the hair into sections and looking for live lice or nits, especially behind the ears and near the hairline at the back of the neck. In children with thick or long hair, a fine-toothed comb can be helpful. If parents aren’t sure if they see lice or nits, their health care provider or the school nurse can help.
Nits that are an inch or more out from the scalp are almost always hatched (some that are closer will be hatched as well). Therefore, finding nits doesn’t necessarily mean that there are live lice on the head; sometimes nits are a sign of an old infestation. Also, nits will stick to the hair after treatment unless they are combed off. For these reasons, many pediatricians oppose the “No-Nit” policies held by many schools.