Head lice

  • Alternative Names

    Lice - head; Nits; Pediculosis capitis - head lice

    Symptoms of head lice include:
    • Intense itching of the scalp
    • Small, red bumps on the scalp, neck, and shoulders (bumps may become crusty and ooze)
    • Tiny white specks (eggs, or nits) on the bottom of each hair that are hard to get off

    Lice on scalp and clothing may be difficult to see, unless there are a lot of them.

    Signs and tests

    Head lice can be hard to see. You need to look closely. Use disposable gloves and look at the person's head under a bright light. Full sun or the brightest lights in your home during daylight hours work well. A magnifying glass can help.

    Part the hair all the way down to the scalp in very small sections, looking both for moving lice and eggs (nits). Look at the entire head this way. Look closely around the top of the neck and ears, the most common locations for eggs.

    Treatment is recommended if even one egg is found.