While both lice and dandruff are common, they are not contagious. It is important to identify the cause of an outbreak so that you can get the best treatment for your child. Identifying the cause of the infestation can also help you prevent future infestations. However, the symptoms of head lice and dandruff are not the same.
The first sign of dandruff or head lice is white flecks in the hair. It can also be smelly and sticky. Another symptom is white dots on the scalp. The flakes are not always lice, but if you notice them, you should visit a doctor right away.
Lice eggs are white or brown and blend in with the strands of hair. They are tiny and stick to the hair follicle. They are also difficult to remove. Lice eggs are generally found in the scalp within 1/4 of an inch of the hair. They may be white, clear, or brown. While lice eggs can be difficult to see, dandruff is easy to identify because it is white and can be easily removed.
A doctor may diagnose head lice based on its size and location. Adult lice are about the size of a sesame seed, and their nits are tiny and stay attached to the scalp. Lice nits can be difficult to see, so a doctor may want to ask someone else to examine the scalp.