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Signs & Symptoms of Lice: Everything You Need to Know

Lice are a common problem, especially among children who spend a lot of time in close contact with one another. These tiny insects are parasites that feed on human blood, and they can be very difficult to get rid of once they’ve taken up residence on your scalp. About 50% of cases  are symptomatic (meaning you’ll likely have an itchy scalp); but that means roughly half of the infestations out there won’t have signs of lice without someone actively looking for it.

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have lice, here are some signs and symptoms to watch out for.

Key Symptoms of a Lice Infestation

The most reported symptoms of a lice outbreak include:

1) Itching: One of the most common signs of lice is itching, especially on the scalp, neck, and ears. The bites of these tiny insects can cause a persistent and intense itching sensation, and scratching can make the problem worse. It’s important to note that not everyone who has lice experiences itching, so the absence of itching doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re in the clear.

2) Visible bugs or nits: Lice are very small and difficult to see, but with careful inspection, you may be able to spot them or their eggs (also called nits) on your scalp or hair. Nits are usually yellow or white in color and are attached to the hair shaft near the scalp. Adult lice are brown or gray and about the size of a sesame seed.

3) Red bumps or sores: If you scratch your head a lot because of lice, you may develop red bumps or sores on your scalp. These can become infected if you continue to scratch them, so it’s important to try to resist the urge to scratch as much as possible.

4) Difficulty sleeping or concentrating: Lice stay active at night, which means that they can make it difficult for you to sleep. If you or your child are having trouble falling asleep or your child is having difficulty concentrating at school, head lice may be to blame.

5) Feeling like something is moving in your hair: If you feel like something is moving in your hair, even though you can’t see anything, it’s possible that you have lice. These insects move quickly and can be difficult to spot, so the sensation of movement may be your only clue that something is amiss.

It’s important to note that it could be up to six weeks before you really start to see signs of an infestation, and your head may not start to itch until then. More often than not, by the time you start having symptoms, there’s a chance they’ve actually been there for a while.

How to Get Rid of Head Lice

Luckily, there is a safe, fast and effective way to get rid of head lice. 

The FDA-cleared AirAllé® is a medical device that kills live lice bugs and their eggs (nits) through dehydration and desiccation. This revolutionary alternative treats head lice through a specific combination of temperature, airflow, time, and technique. Because the AirAllé device is so effective at killing lice eggs (which are the hardest for traditional lice products to kill), the chances of needing a follow-up treatment are less than 1%. AirAllé treatments are performed at Lice Clinics of America clinics.

Once you are lice-free, you can apply products containing essential oils like tea tree oil or lavender oil directly on the scalp and hair in order to prevent a future outbreak. These oils have been found to be effective in repelling head lice, but they must be applied regularly for best results. 

To learn more about lice prevention and tips for treatment, visit our blog or find a lice clinic near you. 

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