Do you have continuous scalp itching, which is not associated with dandruff or any scalp infection?
The itching could result from lice infestation; however, the first stages of lice infestation might not be notable as the infestation occurs when the female lice lay eggs that are small and not easily seen with the eye.
You might not feel the lice eggs that eventually hatch into young nymphs that feed on the blood until they transform into adult lice.
The adult lice have six legs with claws and are the size of a sesame seed.
So can you feel head lice crawling in your hair?
Not everyone can feel the lice crawling on the head as they are small, and the only way to know if you have lice is by inspecting the hair with a fine hair comb or a microscope.
Still, some people feel the lice crawling, and it results in discomfort; here are ways you can know you have lice.
How Lice Spread
You can get lice even if you shower and wash your hair regularly, and lice do not indicate your hair is dirty.
Although they do not spread diseases, they are uncomfortable and will make the skin itchy, leading to other opportunistic infections, redness, and inflammation on the scalp.
The lice will not fly from one head to another neither will they infect other non-human creatures like cats or dogs.
However, they can crawl from one infested head to another, and most people get lice through head-to-head infestation.
However, they can crawl into other belongings such as hats, helmets, combs, beddings, and pillows and could spread quickly to a new host when they contact these items.
How to Identify Lice
Lice thrive on human blood and live close to the scalp where the hair shelters them; however, you can find them in the eyebrows, eyelashes, and behind the ears.
Their first stage of development is referred to as nits which are tiny lice eggs.
They are oval-shaped and the size of a pinhead; however, they are hard to see as they may be the same color as your hair, yellow or white.
They may be hard to remove as they lodge themselves near the scalp, and you might confuse them with dandruff or flakes from the hair sprays.
They hatch in a week or more and leave behind shells that appear greyish on your scalp.
The next stage after hatching is the nymph, which is small micro lice that feed on human blood and keeps growing; they do not love exposure to sunlight and would stay near the scalp.
Mites would appear on your hair and anything your head touches. Finally, when they mature, they become adult lice which crawl all over your head, and if they fall off the head, they might die within two days.
Symptoms of Lice Infestation
Lice bites can result in an allergic reaction which leads to scalp itchiness.
At first, the lice might not make the scalp feel itchy, especially during the early life stages of the lice or when the infestation is light.
Itchiness might make you scratch the skin profusely, leading to redness, inflammation, and infection by other opportunistic diseases.
You may feel a tickling of something moving on your head at maturity, which causes irritability and difficulty sleeping.
Due to scratching, you can have red bumps on your head, shoulders, or pubic areas.
You might also get small whitish residues on your head that the shells leave behind when the lice eggs hatch.
How to Check For the Lice
If you have a white residue and a tingling feeling of something moving on your head, it could indicate lice infestation.
Although you might think that the itchiness on your scalp is due to lice, other conditions like dandruff and eczema or hair products might be to blame for the irritation.
However, you should check for mice infestation by wetting the hair; it makes it challenging for the lice to move swiftly and easily spot them on the scalp.
You can use a fine-toothed comb to part the hair and use a bright light while parting the hair from one spot to another.
If the hair has lice, you might see whitish residue on the scalp with small brown insects’ size the size of sesame seeds moving around the scalp.
If the lice are initially at the developing stage, the nits will be cemented on the hairs and or the scalp.
Even if you are unsure if you see the lice or nits, it could be better to use shampoos and other hair products that clean the hair.
Lice Prevention At Home
Your children are likely to get lice at school and spread them to other people at home; if you suspect your child has lice, it could be prudent to avoid sharing personal belongings with them.
Moreover, you can buy them shampoos specifically meant for lice prevention, launder their clothes frequently, vacuum the floor and furniture, and then cover the furniture with a plastic drop cloth as you deal with the lice infestation to avoid ease of spreading.
If your school or daycare has been infested with lice, it might be challenging to slow down its spread as children will get in touch with one another as they interact in the facility.
If the school has a severe infestation, you can close it for a week and let the children get the necessary treatment.
Moreover, it is prudent to teach the children the importance of avoiding head-to-head contact during playtime and avoiding sharing personal belongings.
However, even with these preventive measures, your child might still get lice, and it is better to let them get treatment at the doctor’s office as soon as you suspect the presence of lice in their head.
Some people can feel the lice crawling in their heads while others don’t; however, lice infestation leads to itchiness, which results in unintentional scratching of the head.
Although the lice might be difficult to see, its first infestation leaves white residue followed by itchiness.
You can prevent its spread by avoiding head-to-head contact and sharing of personal belongings.
However, you should get the best treatment at your doctor’s office.