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Itching is the most common symptom of head lice. It’s caused by an allergic reaction to the saliva secreted by lice when they bite the scalp and suck blood. Not everyone itches with head lice, but many people do. But, why is it that some people continue to itch even after a head lice treatment is applied? Does this mean that you still have lice? Not necessarily. 

If you or your child still has a scratchy head following a head lice treatment, a few things might be going on. Let’s explore what they are and what you can do to reverse the situation. 

Your scalp may be irritated. 

If you used a traditional lice treatment containing permethrin or pyrethrum, your scalp could be irritated. These chemicals can be harsh and irritating to the scalp. Even sodium chloride can cause irritation because it removes natural oils that are needed to make the scalp healthy and moisturized. In the future, stick to products that contain dimethicone. It’s safe, non-irritating and effective. 

The treatment did not work. 

There are a lot of different head lice treatments out there, and it can be difficult to know which ones are effective. Therefore, it’s possible that the head lice treatment you chose did not work and lice are still present. 

To avoid this from happening, we recommend an effective treatment from the get-go, as well as a second treatment to kill all hatched nits. Head lice treatments kill mature lice, but they aren’t as effective on nits. If the nits are viable and hatch, you’ll still have the infestation. 

The bites may be infected.

Some people are more sensitive to lice bites than others. Even though the bites are harmless, they can still cause intense itching and irritation, just as a mosquito bite does. It’s possible that the bites are irritating you, and the more you scratch, the worse they become. If the bites are not healing, visit your doctor to make sure they are not infected. 

What Happens When the Itching Won’t Stop?

With persistent itching, we recommend a couple of things. First, make sure the infestation is gone. Visit a head lice expert to do a thorough check. If there are still lice, a second treatment can be applied. By choosing My Hair Helpers, you can get a same-day appointment and treatment in the convenience of your home or our salon.

If it turns out that the lice are gone, you’ll probably need to see your doctor. They can recommend something to treat your symptoms, such as a topical anti-itch cream or over-the-counter antihistamine. This will alleviate the scratching so the bites can heal and you can move forward from the infestation. 

Although rare, it is possible to have lingering itching after a head lice infestation. Lice do not spread bacteria or disease, so you don’t have to worry about this. The prolonged symptoms are likely due to scalp irritation, bite irritation or an unsuccessful treatment. To resolve this issue, schedule an appointment with My Hair Helpers today!