Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Child is Scratching His Head - Could it be Head Lice?

When you observe your child consistently scratching his head, it is a good idea to examine their hair for a head lice infestation. A persistent itching on the head is a common symptom of head lice.
The itching associated with head lice is usually caused by an allergic reaction to the louse bites, and as they are continually biting, it is nearly impossible to be rid of the itching without treating the infestation.
Some additional symptoms of a head lice infestation include,

•    People who are infested with head lice will frequently feel a tickle like feeling in the hair, as if something is moving around in the hair, and on the head.
•    The infested person may develop sores on their head as a result of constant scratching to relieve the itch.
•    Another problem that may be seen in an infested person is that the sores on their head become infected. This can become a serious health condition if left untreated.

Before head lice can be diagnosed, you must examine the head closely. Look for nits and lice near the scalp, as well as throughout the rest of the hair. Actually spotting an adult louse may be hard because these insects move very fast, and they also have a tendency to avoid light.
In the case that you are unable to confirm head lice by viewing an adult louse, you should then look for the nits close to the scalp. If nits are present, you can probably confirm a head lice infestation. If you discover nits that are more than a quarter inch from the scalp, it is likely that the infestation has been a problem for some time, and immediately treatment is essential.

There are times when it is difficult to see nits on the hair shaft, if this is the case and you are unable to be sure that there are nits on the hair, you should have your healthcare provider check for nits and head lice. They may have a much easier time confirming, or eliminating an infestation, as they can use a microscope to check for nits and head lice.
Once a head lice infestation has been diagnosed, it is important to treat the condition as soon as possible to avoid spreading lice to others. Ensure that you wash all clothing and replace hair accessories, and combs.

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