How is Head Lice Diagnosed?

By  , Expert Content
Aug 09, 2011

How is Head Lice Diagnosed

Infection with head louse or the Pediculus humanus capitis in human hair and scalp can be detected by looking closely through the hair and scalp for nits, nymphs, and/or adults.

  • Nits are easy to see around the hair. They are firmly attached to the hair shaft and if they are found close to the scalp it confirms that a person is infected. Nits found more than ¼ inch from the scalp, probably indicate that the infestation is an old one.
  • Nits are usually easy to see but if the diagnosis is difficult they can be easily identified under a microscope.
  • Finding a nymph or adult confirms the diagnosis, but that may be difficult, as they are lesser in number and can move away quickly from searching fingers.
  • If the diagnosis of infestation with head lice is not clear, consult a health-care provider, school nurse, or a professional.

Diagnosis of infestation with head louse can be confirmed if nymph, adult lice or nits close are found close to the scalp.


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