Head lice us definitely uncomfortable for you and your child especially, but it shouldn’t be a cause for panic even though you should do your best to spot them early. Here are a number of signs to look out for in your child.
Warning From School
Most schools and childcare centers will send a note home to parents as soon as they discover one of their students have head lice. There is no need for you to panic. Experts say lice are virtually harmless. They don’t carry disease or indicate poor housekeeping; they’re simply a parasite transmitted via head-to-head contact.
Lice can’t jump, hop, or fly, and altering your child’s routine to avoid them is unnecessary. Instead, discourage your kid from sharing hair supplies and hats, and from touching heads with others.
One of the most obvious symptoms of head lice is an itchy scalp. The tickling sensation is the result of an allergic reaction to louse saliva, and will mostly occur around the top of the head, neck, and ears.
Itching may not occur for two to six weeks after an infection. Children might also report feeling a moving sensation, which occurs as a result of the tiny insects crawling through their hair.
A lack of sleep goes hand-in-hand with itchiness because lice are most active at night. Your child might experience more itchiness in the evening and have trouble falling asleep.
If you notice your child twisting and turning at night, or acting irritable from a lack of sleep, you might want to check his or her scalp.
Dandruff That Won’t Go
Lice eggs can often take on the appearance of dandruff and it is important that you correctly diagnose your child by contacting a professional before starting treatment. Nits (the eggs) are oval in shape; they’re usually yellow or white in colour and latch onto hair shafts about a quarter-inch from the scalp.
So how can you differentiate them from dandruff, hair-product residue, dirt, and other harmless lookalikes? They can look just like a grain of sand, and they’re not easily removed from the hair.
They Have Swollen Lymph Nodes
If broken skin from frequent scratching results in infection, you might notice the lymph nodes behind your child’s ears and on his or her neck become tender and swollen. You will need to contact your doctor as soon as possible, as your child might need a round of antibiotics.