Lice are the bane of many parents’ existence. And if your child has ever been stricken with the head louse, a tiny, wingless parasitic insect that loves human hair and sucks up small amounts of blood drawn from the scalp, you already know that you never, EVER want a case of head lice in your house again!
However, although lice sound dangerous, they are quite harmless (if caught early) and very common problem among kids between the ages of 3- and 12-years-old, especially in group settings where they can spread happily and hungrily from child to child.
The problem with ridding a household of lice once they’ve set in is that they are extremely contagious and difficult to kill for good. Even though their bites don’t cause any diseases, they can cause painfully inflamed irritation and itchiness in a child’s scalp, and it’s the persistent scratching that can cause severe infection if left untreated.
Here are ten warning signs for parents to signal that your child has lice…
1. Persistent itching
Incessant itchy scalps are caused by an allergic reaction to lice bites, and it’s actually the insects’ saliva or feces that cause that itchy sensation that just can’t be scratched enough. The onset of itching will depend on how sensitive your child’s skin is to the lice—oftentimes it can take up to a few weeks for kids to start scratching.