Healthy Living

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Head Lice?

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Head Lice?

Key Takeaways

  • It is important to visit a qualified doctor if you suspect that you or your child may have head lice.
  • Vacuuming the floor and furniture can be beneficial if you suspect that your home may be infested with lice.
  • You could have lice if you experience itching on body parts such as the neck, scalp, and ears.

Among parasites which affect human beings include the lice. They are small and can be spread through coming into contact with infected person or using his/her belongs. The most affected are children. 

Types

There are three main types of lice. Though they are from similar families, they are all of different species.

They can be found on body parts such as the neck, ears, and scalp. Lice often inhabit clothing and bedding before they are spread to a person's hair and skin.

Once you are infested with lice, you may not always know for sure that it is what you have, but here are some signs and symptoms to consider:

  • Visible Lice: lice may be seen on the scalp, however, this is not always easy because they are tiny and move quickly
  • Severe Itching: you could have lice if you experience consistent itching in places such as the neck, scalp, and ears. This occurs because of the saliva of the lice. Once someone has been infected, it can take up to six weeks before they begin to itch
  • Presence of Eggs: when lice lay eggs, they stick to the shaft of the hair. In the incubation period, this can be difficult to notice because they are still small and often match a person's hair color. However, when the eggs are on the neck and ears, it is easier to see them. When the eggs are empty, they are not near the scalp and are lighter in color.

 How to Check for Lice

Some skin conditions such as dandruff and sensitivity to hair products can have the same effects as head lice. They can cause the scalp to itch, and therefore it is important to know how you can identify the presence of lice. Here is a method to find lice if they are present in someone's hair. 

  • Wet hair, and using a fine-tooth comb, brush it. Then use a flashlight to look at the scalp.
  • Tiny, brown, moving lice will be visible on the scalp if they are present. They are typically about the size of a sesame seed. Nits are also present in those with lice. They typically look as if they are cemented on the hair.

 When Should I See a Doctor?

It is important to visit a qualified doctor if you suspect that you or your child may be infested with head lice. Many people use over-the-counter lice medications to treat themselves, and they end up treating the wrong condition.

Other Conditions that Cause the Symptoms of Lice

  • Nits that remain after treatment
  • Leftover residue from hair products
  • Other insects in the hair
  • Dirt

Lice Prevention

It is important to know that lice are easily spread from one person to another, and the spread of lice can be prevented by avoiding the sharing of personal belongings. These belongings may include hats, combs, brushes, clips, and clothes. Vacuuming the floor and all furniture in your home should also be done if you suspect that your home may be infested with lice.

Preventing Lice at School

Some places, such as childcare centers and schools, where children are concentrated in a certain location can present a challenge when it comes to lice. Therefore, children should ensure they do not come to contact with each other. Items which are personal should also not be shared.

If your child adheres to all the above practices but still he/she is infested with lice the best way is to take action immediately. Visiting a doctor would be the best option since he/she will give recommendations on how to control the lice.