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Is this headlice or not?!

(27 Posts)
Tinkjon Thu 24-Jul-08 12:08:20

I saw some black insects in DDs hair but they don't look like lice are supposed to or of the pictures I've seen of them. They were really tiny, barely 2mm long (I thought lice were 3 or 4?) and were very long and thin - I think they were just those tiny black flying things that you get outside sometimes (DS had some on his face and pram the other day and they obviously weren't lice). I can't see any of these insects on her hair now. Have just combed her hair and there were some tiny little things stuck onto the shaft of the hair, about 2 mm long, but I thought that nits were white and these are browny-coloured. They weren't moving, just stuck to her hair. I looked at them under a magnifying glass and they still just looked like blobs, couldn't see anything 'insecty' about them, for want of a better word! They have what looks like a transparent bit of hair 1mm long sticking out from them.

Any idea if this is lice or not?!

memoo Thu 24-Jul-08 12:12:32

they do sound like lice!!

My kids have had them and they've always been brown.

The tiny things you saw stuck to her hair are unhatched eggs. The ones my DC have had always had that "transparent bit of hair sticking out from them". Nits/eggs are brown before they hatch, they are only white/transparent afterwards.

I would say 100% they are lice.

try not to worry though, its just one of those things, happy wet combing

lalaa Thu 24-Jul-08 12:12:43

yes. headlice. comb away......

ReallyTired Thu 24-Jul-08 12:25:37

I'm afraid they sound like nits. I suggest that you get the nitty gritty comb from Boots. Comb her hair and everyone in the family with conditioner every night until you don't see any more.

Have you checked you own head?

Tinkjon Thu 24-Jul-08 12:28:40

Oh no, I was really hoping you'd tell me it wasn't lice I've always dreaded DD having them - her hair is so long it's going to be a nightmare. And mine has loads of short layers, how am I supposed to comb that?! I don't understand how you can do it without getting muddled as to what you've already combed and what you haven't. It's my own fault though as I haven't combed as often as I should [smack wrist] How often do you have to comb? (I've read different things). The majority of things seem to say every 3 days for 2 weeks - would people agree? And when do I stop combing - once I don't see any more nits?

Tinkjon Thu 24-Jul-08 12:30:28

Really tired, I've got that comb - FYI you can get it free on prescription! I haven't checked my head but I'm assuming I have them as I think they're impossible not to spread, aren't they?

DontNeedAnything Thu 24-Jul-08 12:34:51

If you comb every 3-4 days fo 2 weeks that is theoretically enough to treat. IME though if you use anything other than a Nitty Grity comb it will take more than 2 weeks as you will probably miss some. You can (with experience) treat wuicker than this with a Nitty Gritty as it destroys the eggs.

One tip that I have is to rindse teh comb in a pint glass of water after every section. A few minutes after you have finished teh lice (and eggs) will have sunk to teh bottom. I comb until I have seen 2 consequtive clean glasses. If this is less than 2 weeks I then repeat at 2 weeks just to double check.

My DTDs have bum length hair and it is a pain - but doable. Buy a clip so you can section the hair and hold it up. Work from teh bottom, lowering an inch of hair at a time.

DontNeedAnything Thu 24-Jul-08 12:38:21

My DTDs have had numerous bouts of headlice over the last 3yrs. I have only ever had 1 louse. I still always check though.

Lemontart Thu 24-Jul-08 12:42:32

Agree with the combing as the best solution. When we had this a while back we got into a bathtime routine of bath, hairwash, coat the hair full of child friendly conditioner and comb through with that (lot less painful and much easier). Then rinse once done. Done in the bath made the whole thing less of a drama as they can sit and draw on the tub with bath crayons, scoop up and play with water etc while I section and combed through the hair.
Also remember to wash bedding regularly - especially pillows and to keep an eye on your own head and DH. Nits spread far too easily round a family

Lemontart Thu 24-Jul-08 12:43:35

After we had rid ours, bought tea tree scented hard shampoo bar from Lush. Amazing stuff, lasts ages, nice smell, kid friendly and apparently the nits hate the smell. Worked for us so far as no returning beasties

Tinkjon Thu 24-Jul-08 12:48:40

LemonTart, I have to wash bedding more often than usual as well?!?! I thought the lice died almost as soon as they left the head? Good idea about combing in the bath - I can barely get a normal comb through my DDs hair though, the Nitty Gritty is even harder... her hair is bum-length too and I'm so tempted to cut it short but it's always been so long that I'm loathe to change it. She'll seem too grown-up!

Don'tNeedAnything, is rinsing in the glass enough then? The nits/lice can get out of the comb like that? I've always wiped after, I thought you had to do that?

Lemontart Thu 24-Jul-08 12:52:55

Don’t cut it! It is easier to keep lice free when long as you can tie it back tightly in a plaited pony tail
Re bedding - not sure about the science behind the washing of the bedding. I was told that by the HV when I phoned her up for current advice (so confused after reading so many of the modern treatments were apparently ineffective and wanted her take on what to do). I think the lice might die but you may transfer the eggs to the pillows while sleeping? Not sure exactly but I did it and no return of lice so seemed a small inconvenience to be lice free for me. Perhaps others might know of definite scientific reason why/why not to bother with frequent daily pillowcase washing?

MrsBadger Thu 24-Jul-08 12:57:15

no need to cut it short
but you could lose 6-12" from bum-length hair - it'd still look 'long' but be easier to manage.

ReallyTired Thu 24-Jul-08 13:44:57

I would not use Tea Tree oil products unless you have a definate infestation. There is evidence that it can cause breast growth in boys.

Tea Tree oil is really effective at killing lice and I use it with my son occassionally. Thankfully his chest is still as flat as a pancake.

Tinkjon Thu 24-Jul-08 16:01:47

OK, I'm really confused now. Just wetcombed and found loads of tiny brown specks which I assumed were eggs, but there were at least 50 of them and I only found one thing which I think could have been a louse. But one louse only lays a few eggs per day so how are there this many? I'm sure I combed properly and even though I may have missed one or two, I can't have missed as many as it would take to lay that many eggs.

And no white specks at all - although I have just read that empty cases aren't white at all, even though most people (me included) think they are.

Very confused now...

Tinkjon Thu 24-Jul-08 16:08:07

Also the thing I thought was a louse wasn't big enough to lay eggs... so now I'm wondering if it really is lice...

nervousal Thu 24-Jul-08 16:11:00

sorry to threadjack but...

We were on hols last week and we've since found out that a girl who babysat for us has lice. Don't see anything in DDs hair yet - how long would it take for us to see something if DD has caught them?

memoo Thu 24-Jul-08 17:07:16

tink, one lice can lay about 20 eggs a day, and the eggs take 14 days to hatch. so it would onlt take a few days for one lice to lay that many.

I also thought lice would be huge, but they can be really tiny and lay eggs.

she does sound like she definately has headlice, and more often than not you will find that you're spending time remove all those little black eggs, I don't really tend to see many actual lice when i'm doing it, apart from the first time DD had them and I didn't know what they were and by the time I realised she was crawling with them!

DontNeedAnything Thu 24-Jul-08 19:44:22

Tink...I have had hundreds of eggs in the past with only a couple of lice. It just means that the adult that laid them may have either died or moved on to pastures new. The one that you saw could have been a new hatchling.

Keep combing.

With regards to rinsing hte comb...I usually do it out of the bath so thaty they can read or watch telly. I sit with a towel laid over my lap , rinse the comb in the jug/glass and then wipe the comb over my lap.

TBH the lice do fall of easily (and I never see any on the towel) - but I do worry a little about the eggs. Althought eh Nitty Gritty claims that all eggs are destoyed on contact with the comb so (assuming that is true) it doesn't really matter too much if they go back into teh head.

WRT to teh white empty eggs - I never see these, although TBH as long as I catch the lice early before I get any hatchers I rarely see any babies as I seem to be pretty efficient at getting hte eggs before they hatch.

thornrose Thu 24-Jul-08 19:46:53

I use nitty gritty like Dont - sit dd in front of tv, keep dipping comb in a bowl of water and you see lots and lots of tiny specks in the water, never know if they are eggs or baby lice, but either way it's good to get them out!

DontNeedAnything Thu 24-Jul-08 19:50:34

One BIG tip.

Don't put her in the bath after someone has had a shave. The stuble in teh bottom of the glass makes it a huge PITA to see what you are getting.

NormaStanleyFletcher Thu 24-Jul-08 19:54:31

may sound like a random question - but what colour is her hair - when we were at my parents house the other weekend my white-blonde neice got her hair COVERED in storm-bugs

they are tiny and black and thin - smaller than most of the lice I have ever come across

chutneymary Thu 24-Jul-08 20:08:25

If you have a DD with long, difficult to comb hair, I'd recommend a small dollop of Frizz ease or some such stuff. Makes the hair far easier to manage (better than conditioner alone) and you still get eggs / insects out.

My DD with long blonde ringlets (which do tangle quite badly alas) will only let me do it with this special creme on. Sit on lap in front of DVD (we find Cinderella works wellgrin) and get your pint glass out. Keep combing for about an hour. Repeat at least every other day.

Good luck. They're a bugger.

Tinkjon Thu 24-Jul-08 22:12:56

"and get your pint glass out" - yeah, I could do with a beer, actually

Norma, her hair is dark brown, but the insects I found do sound exactly like the ones you described! DH and I just combed our hair and didn't find anything at all.

Thanks so much for all your help, people!

DontNeedAnything Thu 24-Jul-08 22:16:19

TBH that did strick me about your first post (I guess we got involved in advice on how to treat headlice). Headlice are not black. They are red/brown/transparent, depending on how big they are and how much blood they have fed on.

The eggs are very dark brown - not quite black.

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