We had such a great response to last month's article, we decided to share 5 MORE signs and symptoms of head lice.
1. Sleepless Nights- Lice are parasitic and can be nocturnal, so the constant biting, stinging and frustration can mess with your child’s quality and quantity of sleep. If you notice this type of disturbance or irregularity in her sleep patterns, promptly get the fine comb and check the scalp, nape and ears of your beloved. She may be hosting an unwanted party of guests on her sleepy head.
2. Moody Blues- When the ravages of a louse infection continue for more than a few days in children, it is not unusual for it to lead to crankiness or anger. The itchy annoyance, and persistent sting or flaking can have a significant effect on a child’s mood. Staying closely tuned to the emotional states of your little ones might tip you off, that something pesky has taken up residence among your youngsters. Lice are the most common in children between the ages of 5 and 12.
3. Glad You Noticed- Head lice are fairly common and can spread rapidly in a school population. As a result, school teachers are always on the lookout for lice infestations. If you get a notice from school, there’s a good chance that your little one might already be playing good host to bad bugs. But immediately checking each family member with that fine tooth comb and handy magnifying glass is the best way to get the problem in check and avoid them infesting your household further. Prevention of lice is better than the cure, but beware, there are other less worrisome conditions that have similar symptoms. Dandruff and eczema for example also cause itching and irritation. It’s important not to panic or wrongly diagnose a child with an infestation. Schoolyard stigma can be debilitating to our kids, and you want to avoid quick pharmaceutical remedies that might come with their own negative side-effects on growing bodies. Good practices such as not sharing brushes or hats with classmates and discouraging head to head contact between playmates can also help avoid passing an infestation around. If someone in the family is so infested or you have been visited by someone that you find out was infected, vacuum your home thoroughly, including all furniture and carpeting and cover any furniture with plastic in regular use, until you know that the infestation has been completely removed.
4. Lice Eggs (Nits)- Infestations begin with the laying of eggs. If dandruff-like spots appear on your son or daughter’s head, neck or shoulders, try brushing them away. if they don’t brush away like fluff, they are most likely louse nits. If you see white or yellowish bits they are probably empty louse egg casings. If the spots are beige or brown, you might be looking at live eggs filled with larva. Again, a fine tooth comb and patient attention to the scalp are your best diagnostic tools.
5. Skin Breakdown- The human scalp is like a tropical oasis for the louse, and once born, lice begin biting and feeding on the scalp. Increased or incessant itching can cause breaks and open sores on the scalp. Regular bleeding and dirty finger nails create a fertile ground for infections. Constant itching can lead to sores, crusting, scabs, and fluid oozing from an infected area. Examining your child’s scalp may reveal sores and crusting before you actually see any lice. If she has longer hair, check the neck area for signs of redness, swelling or infection.
If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, give us a call. Even just a head check will help put your mind at ease!