ZocdocAnswersNits or dandruff?

Question

Nits or dandruff?

I have white around my scalp and the more I look the more I find, there is no moving things and this has been visible for around a week, I can pull the white out quite easily between my fingernails and it comes off when I brush my hair however it never disappears. It isn't itchy often and I don't think there is much behind my ears, if itchy it is usually between my right ear and scalp. when I wash my hair it doesn't disappear and it doesn't make any crack noise when I pull it out, it is just white and sometimes flaky. how can I be sure if it is nits or just dandruff?

Answer

This can be a difficult thing to determine for many people, and it may be necessary to have a professional evaluate your hair to be sure. Often, lice will have some itching associated with it, although this may take some time and you may be in the minority of people who tolerate this quite well. You have mentioned some of the cardinal signs of lice, regarding finding the white beads that can form on the hair shafts and have to be removed from the hair with the fingertips. Often, if you have known exposure to someone who has lice it can be more likely that you have lice. Like most things in medicine, it is hardly ever a sure bet and so doctors will often determine the likelihood based on your story, your contacts, your symptoms, and your examination. While you can provide most of that over the Internet, it is obviously important to see a professional if you are concerned. Some beauty salons would be able to help you with this, but you should obviously speak with a health professional (read, your doctor) if you are still having symptoms, additional complaints, or have any other reason to be concerned.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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