Healthy Living

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Head Lice?

Head Lice: The Signs and Symptoms

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Head Lice?

Head lice are tiny, wingless, and parasitic insects that live in the human hairs and feed on blood they extract from the scalp. Head lice are a common problem, particularly in kids. They are very contagious, bothersome, and can be tough to eliminate.

However, a head lice infestation is not fatal. Usually, lice do not cause any complications. However, their bites can make the scalp of the child itchy, irritated, and uncomfortable. They can sometimes cause an infection. Therefore, it is vital to treat head lice as soon as possible since they can spread rapidly from one person to another.

Head Lice: The Signs and Symptoms

Head lice are very tiny, but they can be seen by the naked eye. You should watch out for the following symptoms:

1. Lice eggs

Also known as nits, lice eggs are tiny and they can appear as yellow or brown dots before they hatch. Lice eggs are laid near the hair shafts and close to the child’s scalp. This provides a favorable environmental condition to keep them warm until they hatch. They can also look like dandruff, but they cannot be removed through brushing or shaking. Their eggs hatch within one to two weeks after they are laid.

2. Adult lice & nymphs

An adult louse looks like a sesame seed. They are also grayish or tan in color. Nymphs are smaller. They become adult lice within one-two weeks of being hatched. If untreated, they will hatch again in two to three weeks. They feed on the human blood and they can make your child uncomfortable.

3. Scratching

Lice will bite to feed on your child’s blood. This will result in an itching sensation and scratch. This is due to the fact that lice produce saliva when biting the scalp. This saliva will react with the skin, resulting in uncomfortable itching sensations. The scratching will depend on the sensitivity of your child’s skin. For a very sensitive skin, the itching will start right away. Your child may complain of things moving on his/her scalp. Your child may also complain of things tickling on his/her head.

4. Tiny red bumps

The red bumps can become sore if scratched. However, this irritation is mild in some children. For others, this irritation may develop to become very bothersome. Therefore, you should make sure that they are treated as soon as possible. Remember, excessive scratching leads to bacterial infections. This may lead to swollen lymph glands featuring a red, tender skin. Consequently, the skin can have crusts, giving room for excessive oozing.

Head Lice: Other Symptoms

Head lice can cause the following additional symptoms:


Your child may become irritated, making him/her very uncomfortable to concentrate in carrying out daily chores. This can impact negatively on your child’s quality of life and education.

Difficulty sleeping

The scratching and itching can make it difficult for your kid to sleep. This will affect the quality of your child’s life. The appearance of lice eggs and small white stuff in your child’s hair can make your child feel uncomfortable. It can also affect his/her performance in school due to discrimination from other kids.

Head lice should be treated early since they can easily spread from one child to another. They are not fatal, but they can affect a child’s quality of life. Therefore, you should treat them as soon as possible.

Key Takeaways

  • Lice eggs
  • Adult lice & nymphs
  • Scratching
  • Tiny red bumps