The only way to confirm your lice suspicions is by a thorough examination of your hair. Making head lice exams a part of your regular routine will allow you to identify lice before they get out of hand.
Although the feeding bite of the louse is painless, its saliva can cause an allergic reaction in many people. They can be red marks and itching at the site of the bite. Reaction severity depends on each person and the number of prior exposures. Initial infestation may produce no signs or symptoms for 4 to 6 weeks. Subsequent infestations may cause itching within 24 to 48 hours. Therefor, first-time infestations are often the easiest for you to detect, and severe itching usually indicates an infestation that has been present for several weeks. 50% of the population, however, are not allergic and NEVER have the “itch” reaction. This may account for the high rate of re-infestation among individuals who appear to be lice-free.
Intense itching at the site of the bite compels a person to scratch, often breaking the skin. The open scratches, in turn, create an entryway for germs and lice feces which may lead to secondary infections and swollen glands in the neck.
Secondary infections are far worse than the lice themselves and often lead to more serious problems. Other lice symptoms include:
- Rash at the nape of the neck
- Swollen glands
- Low-grade fever
- Bags under the eyes
- Inability to sleep because of the nocturnal characteristic of lice
- Anemia in severe cases
With an excessive number of lice bites, the infested individual may be feverish and feel tired and irritable due to lack of sleep, hence the term “feeling lousy.” Chronic scalp infections are not uncommon in individuals with active head lice infestations, especially in tropical climates or when daily hygiene is difficult to maintain.
HEAD TO HEAD CONTACT is for sure the primary way to get the dreaded critters. HONESTLY, humans will be humans! Heads are going to touch no matter how old we are. Whether it’s on the playground, in class, hugging your family, or any regular daily activity. You do not realize it but you are touching someone’s head in some way every day.