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Signs of Lice and How to Prevent Their Spread

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Lice are small, parasitic insects that can be spread through contact with an infected host. Often, your first indication that your child has lice is a note from the youngster's school nurse. However, there are signs that can help you recognize the presence of lice before they are otherwise detected. Here are a few of signs that your child has lice and how to prevent the insects from spreading once their presence is confirmed:

An Itchy Scalp

If you have noticed your child regularly scratching his or her head, lice could be present. As the insects feed, their bites incite an immunological response that produces an itchy sensation. Still, your little one may not notice the itchiness right away if the infestation is minor. However, the itchy symptoms may intensify as the number of lice in your child's hair multiply.

Scabs on the Scalp

As your child scratches in response to an itchy scalp, the youngster may irritate his or her scalp.  Scratching repeatedly can result in sores that you may notice as you wash your little one's hair. If you feel small bumpy scabs on your child's scalp, inspect the hair closely for lice.

Tiny, White Dots Throughout the Hair

Lice lay eggs that adhere to strands of hair. The eggs appear as small white dots in the hair.

If you have noticed white particles in your child's hair or feel small bumps as you slide your fingers along a strand of your youngster's locks, lice eggs may be present. These eggs, which are known as "nits," may be difficult to remove from the hair even though they are visible.

Small, Moving Insects Visible After a Shampoo

When you wash your little ones hair, lice that may be present on the scalp tend to move a bit slower. Regular water and shampoo won't kill the insects but may slow them down.

As you part your child's hair to style it following a shampoo session, look closely at your child's scalp. If you see tiny brown bugs moving about, your child most likely has lice. To ensure that you're actually seeing insects instead of dirt or debris, try to remove the brown dots. Lice and their eggs are not easily removed, but dirt particles generally are.

How to Prevent Lice from Spreading

Once you have identified lice, there are a few steps that you should take to try to ensure that they do not spread to others in your home. Here are a few precautions for you to consider:

  • Avoid sharing combs and brushes.
  • Wash your bedding and clothing daily.
  • Vacuum thoroughly and tried to cover furnishings with plastic until the lice infestation has been eradicated.

To learn more about lice and how to prevent them from spreading, schedule an appointment with a physician in your area.