10 Signs and Symptoms of Head Lice
1. Itchy Scalp
Undoubtedly, an itchy scalp is the most well-known and common symptom of a head lice infestation, however, it may not be as common as you think. The regular and constant itch that is associated with head lice is an allergic reaction to louse saliva, but when person is infected for the first time, this itching may not manifest for two to six weeks after the infestation. It is also possible that a lice infestation will result in minimal to even know itching or irritation as the host may not be allergic to the louse saliva. If you have children, or have been exposed to children in close proximity, and notice that you or someone you know is scratching their head regularly, it might be with investigating. The scalp, neck and eras are the most common areas to be susceptible to itching. In order to be proactive, and further avoid the spread of head lice, if you notice an itchy scalp but haven't confirmed lice as the culprit, it is best not to share hats, combs, hairbrushes or other products that might have been in contact with hair.
2. 'Creeps' in Scalp
It would probably be a safe assumption to say that most of us, at one point or another, have had a bug in our hair, or on are arm, or shirt, or in some fashion that ultimately creeped us out and made our arms flail. It’s a common occurrence; that feeling of a bug crawling on our skin is inherently unpleasant, especially to the younger population.A common feeling associated with lice is that of having little tiny insects crawling along your skin and scalp, and the reason for that is simply because there is. Sure, kids get dirty, and it could just be sand in the hair or something less serious, but when it comes to kids, lice is a real reality, and it isn’t really an issue of hygiene either. Sadly, this symptom often wont present itself for three to four weeks after the initial infestation.
3. Fever and Swollen Lymph Nodes
While most people wouldn’t associate lice with a fever or swollen lymph nodes, especially as head lice are not carriers of disease, but depending on the individual who is infected, it is a possibility.The reason for a fever and swollen lymph nodes is directly related to the same cause for your itchy scalp - louse saliva. Just like some people will not experience the severe itch and irritation of a lice infestation, due to allergic reaction (or lack thereof), the same allergy can cause fever or swollen lymph nodes. If the lymph nodes at the front and back of the neck are swollen, that may indicate a deeper allergic reaction to lice. If you notice a fever or swollen lymph nodes, regardless of whether you think lice is to blame, it is vital that you go see a doctor immediately, in order to rule out a more serious cause.
4. Family Member Diagnosed
Head lice don’t fly. They also don’t jump, or swim, and typically will die after three days of not being on a human head. That being said, it is only through close proximity and the sharing of clothing and products that come in contact with hair that head lice is spreadStatistically speaking, if a member in your family has been infected by lice, your chances of catching them multiply tenfold, and what that translates to is a relatively small window for diagnosis and treatment before the statistic becomes a reality. Lice are incredibly tricky, and seems to often spread before the first person infected even starts presenting symptoms. As soon as you, or someone in your home is suspected of having life, it is very important to check everyone’s head immediately. A trip to the drug store will usually suffice, as there is a multitude of creams, oils and shampoos that can be used to kill lice, however, if symptoms persist, it is time to visit your healthcare professional.
5. Severe Scalp Irritation
Lice are hungry, and to a large degree insatiable. They feed on sweat, blood and skin of the scalp, and it is through this feeding that saliva is exuded causing the typical itch. However, much like chickenpox, mosquito bites and any other infection or infestation that results in an itch, prolonged scratching to lead to severe irritation and inflammation if not treated.While a redness and swelling of the scalp will typically always be present with a lice infestation, the associated pain and irritation might not be, which can make an untreated scalp that much more of a nuisance. Very often these parasites can be found on the nape of the neck or by the ears, making the scalp not the only place where irritation can occur.
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