Just thinking about head lice can make you start itching. If your school or daycare center has notified you that head lice have been detected, you’ll want to check your child (and yourself) immediately. According to Lisa Liss, manager of Lice Clinics of America locations in Encino, West LA and Santa Clarita here are some of the signs your child may have head lice:
- Scratching: If your child is scratching his or her head more than usual, it may be time to check for lice. Lice bites can cause an allergic reaction, causing severe itching. It can take a few weeks for this symptom to develop.
- Tickling sensation: Some children experience a “tickly” feeling from lice bites or from lice touching their skin. This is a less severe reaction than the itching.
- Sores or scratch marks: If you see sores or scratch marks on your child’s head or neck, it can be a sign your child has an active lice infestation. Children often scratch harder than they need to, which can break the skin and cause sores and scabs.
- Disruption of sleep patterns: Head lice can make sleep difficult for youngsters. If your child is having a harder time than usual going to sleep or staying asleep, that might be a sign that head lice have invaded his or her scalp.
- Irritability: If your child is more irritable than usual, this can be an indication that head lice are present. Irritability often coincides with chronic itchiness and sleeplessness. These symptoms can combine, especially when an infestation is more mature.
It’s important to point out that an itchy scalp alone is not always an indication of head lice. “Itchiness can also be a symptom of other harmless conditions, such as dry scalp, allergies, or a reaction to a hair product,” said Liss. “Make sure you do your due diligence and double check.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), misdiagnosis of head lice infestation is common. The most reliable symptom, of course, is the presence of a live louse or lice on a child’s head.
How to Spot Lice
To be sure that your child has lice, conduct a physical inspection of his or her head and neck. “Checking your child’s head for lice is simple,” said Liss. “Start at the nape of the neck and around the ears, locations where lice are most likely to live. They stay very near the scalp to stay warm, about a quarter of an inch from the skin. Separate the hair with a comb. Head lice are about the size of a sesame seed. They can be difficult to see and move quickly away from prying fingers. A magnifying glass may be helpful. If you have a louse comb, run it through the hair multiple times, wiping it on a white paper towel after each pass. Inspect the paper towel to see if you pull mature lice or nymphs (young lice) from the hair.”
About Eggs (Nits)
You may identify eggs, also called nits, while inspecting the hair and scalp. Lice eggs are tiny, camouflaged, and stick to hair with a strong glue-like substance. Nits are often confused with other particles found in hair such as dry scalp, hair spray droplets, and dirt particles. “If all eggs are not killed or removed, they will hatch and you’ll have a fresh case of head lice on your hands,” said Liss. “It can be extremely difficult to remove all eggs. Many of our clients thought they had done a thorough job, only to discover a few weeks later that they had missed a few eggs and the infestation resumed.”
“The most important thing to remember is to not panic,” says Liss. “While a case of head lice can be stressful and frustrating for parents and children, head lice do not cause serious health problems. In addition, lice infestations are completely unrelated to personal hygiene. The only reason your child has lice is because he or she had close contact with someone else that had lice.”
The Gold Standard of Care
The good news is new technology now makes treating head lice fast and easy. Lice Clinics of America’s AirAllé device is an FDA-cleared medical device, clinically proven to kill live lice and more than 99 percent of eggs in as little as an hour, guaranteed. To learn more or to find a clinic near you, visit www.LiceClinicsLosAngeles.com.
Lice Clinics of America has over 330 treatment centers in 35 countries, making it the world’s largest network of professional lice treatment centers. The clinics in Santa Clarita, Encino and Los Angeles are open seven days a week by appointment. Call 844-727-9792 or email info@LiceClinicsLosAngeles.com to schedule an appointment. They’ll start your visit with a screening and do treatment only if a case of head lice is diagnosed. Your clinician will also share helpful information about prevention so you can get back to life without worrying about lice.