Head Lice Infestation – Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment

Head lice are minute insects that live in human hair and on the scalp, feeding on blood. Medically, an infestation of head lice is known as pediculosiscapitis. It must be noted here that a head lice infestation is not a sign of poor hygiene habits,nor is it an indication of an unclean living environment. Surprisingly enough, head lice seek clean and healthy scalps to live in. Also, head lice donot carry any bacterial or viral diseases. However, persistent scratching of lice bites may lead to infections and inflammations. In this blog, we talk about various signs, symptoms and treatments of a lice infestation.

Common Signs and Symptoms

Itching: Itching and irritation on scalp, ears, and neck are among the most common signs of the presence of head lice. Itching results from an allergic reaction to the saliva of head lice, and may not occur for one to six weeks after infestation. Lice on the Scalp: Lice may become visible in daylight, but they are difficult to spot because of their small size and quick movement. Lice Eggs (Nits) on Hair Shaft: Lice eggs are known as nits. Nits stick to the hair shaft and are difficult to remove because they camouflage themselves to match hair color. However, empty nits (eggs from lice that have hatched) are easier to spot because they are lighter in color. Nits are abundantly present on the hairline around the neck, and around ears.

When to Seek Treatment

Seek a certified lice removal service when you observe the first signs of an infestation. They will also be able to tell you if you have mistaken something else for a head lice infestation. Conditions which are often mistaken for head lice include:
  • Dandruff
  • Bead of dead hair tissue on a hair shaft (hair cast)
  • Dead or empty nits from a previous head lice infestation
  • Other small insects found in the hair
  • Scab tissue, dirt or other debris
  • Residue from hair products

How Lice Spread

Head lice can only crawl; they can’t jump or fly. They are transferred from one person to another via direct contact. This is why the transmission occurs most often within family members or among school children who have close contact during play times and study sessions. Indirect transmission is also likely due to the nits’ high tolerance level. Head lice can’t survive long outside their natural habitat, which is the human scalp, whereas nits can tolerate various external conditions. Thus, lice may spread from one person to another with the help of items such as:
  • Brushes and combs
  • Headphones
  • Hats and scarves
  • Towels
  • Pillows
  • Upholstery
  • Hair accessories
If these items are stored together, for example on the same hook or locker, or if a lice-free person wears an infested hat, a transfer of head lice may occur.

Treatment Options

Home Remedies

There are various treatment options available when it comes to combating head lice. Home remedies are amongst the most commonly sought after treatment adapted by people. These remedies include oiling and massaging, application of petroleum jelly ormayonnaise, and other activities. However, these remedies are, for the most part, ineffective. They have little effect on the lice, and absolutely no effect on eradicating nits.

Over-the-Counter Treatments

Though these types of treatments are said to be effective on head lice and nits, they come with a plethora of side effects pluslong lasting consequences. Over the counter shampoos and sprays contain harmful chemicals such as Lindane, which cancause damage to the nervous system if inhaled.

Hiring a Lice Removal Service

Hiring a lice removal service such as Lice Troopers is, by far, the best option for the effective and permanent removalof head lice. We have a comprehensive and systematic method of removing head lice, incorporating only safe and pesticide free products. Simply call us to book an appointment at 1.800.403.5423.