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Head lice infestation is a common issue that affects millions of people worldwide, particularly school-aged children. While the thought of lice may cause discomfort or embarrassment, it’s important to remember that it’s a manageable condition with no relation to personal hygiene. Early detection and treatment are crucial in managing head lice effectively, preventing their spread to others. 

Here are key signs of head lice that you shouldn’t ignore.

Persistent Itching

One of the most noticeable signs of head lice is an itchy scalp. This itching is caused by an allergic reaction to the saliva of lice. It may not start immediately after infestation; it can take weeks for the itching to begin. If you or your child are experiencing persistent itching that doesn’t improve with regular washing or over-the-counter treatments, it’s worth checking for lice.

Visible Nits

Nits are the eggs laid by lice, and they’re easier to spot than adult lice. They appear as tiny, oval-shaped and yellowish-white dots. Unlike dandruff or other scalp residues that can be easily brushed off, nits are firmly attached to hair shafts near the scalp, particularly around the nape of the neck and behind the ears.

Feeling of Something Moving in Your Hair

The sensation of something crawling on your scalp or hair is a common experience for those with head lice. If you or your child frequently feel like something is moving in your hair, it’s a strong indicator of a lice infestation.

Red Bumps or Sores

The constant scratching due to itchiness can lead to red bumps or sores on the scalp, neck and shoulders. These sores can sometimes become infected if not properly treated. If you notice persistent scratching followed by the appearance of sores, it’s time to examine the scalp for lice.

Difficulty Sleeping

Lice are most active in the dark, which can cause discomfort and disrupt sleep. If you or your child are experiencing unusual difficulty sleeping due to an itchy scalp or the sensation of moving hair, consider checking for head lice.

Presence of Live Lice

Though they are small and move quickly, making them challenging to spot, the presence of live lice is a definitive sign of infestation. Adult lice are grayish-brown insects about the size of a sesame seed. Spotting them often requires a fine-toothed comb and good lighting.

What to Do If You Spot These Signs

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to act swiftly:

  • Check the scalp closely, preferably using a fine-toothed nit comb and under good lighting. Wet combing the hair can make it easier to spot nits and lice.
  • Consult a healthcare professional if you’re unsure about the diagnosis or the best treatment option.
  • Begin treatment promptly—choose products that are safe and effective.
  • Inform close contacts and check their hair as well, as lice can spread quickly through direct contact.
  • Follow up with additional treatments as directed, and continue checking the hair for signs of lice for a few weeks after treatment to ensure the infestation is fully resolved.

Ignoring the signs of head lice can lead to a larger infestation that’s more difficult to manage and increases the risk of spreading lice to others. Awareness and prompt action can make a significant difference in handling this common but manageable issue. My Hair Helpers has everything you need to fight lice! Between our head lice prevention and treatment products and our salon and home appointments, we can help you eliminate lice for good!