Top 5 Signs That You May Have Lice

Being infested with lice is embarrassing due to the stigma and misunderstanding around the

insects. The reality though, is that this is a common condition that is both easy to cure or treat,

and not particularly dangerous (except in certain African countries). However, this does not

mean that you should leave lice unchecked. Early detection is important in putting a stop to their

life cycle. Here are the top signs that you may have lice.

Itchy Scalp

The most common way to tell that you may have lice is persistent scalp itching. This itching is

caused by the bites from the insects. Head lice feed exclusively on human blood, but even though

they need to eat every two or three days to stay alive, the itching is the first indication of an

infestation and only presents itself three to four weeks into the insects’ life cycle. The typical

reaction to the itch is mild irritation and discomfort that might have an impact on your sleep. If

you have an itch that seems to be lasting longer than normal, check for lice using a louse comb or

special shampoo. The easiest way to spot nits or live lice is to make sure you a head check is

done under a really bright light.

Visible Bites

Although louse bites are small, they can be seen as raised bumps or red spots, particularly around

the neck and ears of people with long hair. The bites are also grouped around these areas – so

look out for clusters of bites instead of single spots. Bites on the scalp are difficult to see, but can

be spotted using a magnifying glass should you suspect an infection.

The Presence of Nits

The term ‘nits’ refers to lice eggs that are cemented to the shaft of the hair, usually nearest the

scalp. These small white shells are laid at the base of the hair itself, and may be really hard to

detect. When checking for lice under a bright light, the nits will be more visible. Remember that

white nits mean that the infestation may already have passed – the brown eggs that contain larvae

mean that there is an ongoing infestation.

Living Lice

The easiest way to confirm that you have lice is to look for and detect living insects on your

scalp. They are roughly 2 – 3mm long but can be difficult to spot among the roots of your hair,

especially if you have dark or long hair. There are shampoos that will help you see the insects, or

you can comb your hair frequently using a fine-toothed louse comb to detect the lice.

Other Indications

In some cases, people react to lice with fevers, swollen lymph nodes or secondary infections

caused by open wounds. However, these are common symptoms of multiple ailments, and do not

serve as confirmation of lice on their own. If you find that you have one or more of the

symptoms above, then you should act right away. Contact a lice professional or you can buy over

the counter lice medications and treat and comb the lice out yourself. Breaking the life cycle

correctly should cure your problem.

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