Head Lice Infestation: Symptoms, Causes & Diagnosis

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What are head lice?

The louse is a parasite (an organism that lives in or on a body of another species). The lice are only about the size of the name for one of a sesame seed. These are tiny insects and are bloodsuckers. Head lice eat a small amount of blood (less than a mosquito does for their nourishment.

Their eggs are also called nits. They appear on the hair shafts. Nits are difficult to brush out of the hair. They use their sticky tiny feet to hold on to hair. Insects are found very close to the human skin.

Head lice (pediculus humanus capitis) is a parasite that usually lives on the people’s heads and causes itching that produces an irritating pan. Still, they are not easy to eradicate that they are quite complicated to watch with the human eye.

What do head lice look like?

An adult louse has six legs, which help them to move on hair. They can crawl, but they cannot fly or jump. Insects are tiny in size, color as grey, white, or black. When they feed on blood, their tone changed into red or brown. We can see them by the naked eye. There are some cases. You may need a magnifying glass to see them.

Lice life cycle

Lice have three stages of its life.

  1. Eggs:- They are also called Nits. They are tiny in size and are oval. Their size is usually 0.3mm(millimeters) to 0.7mm.
  2. Nymph:- It is also called a louse. It looks similar to the adult lice but smaller than an adult in size. Its minimum size is about 1mm.
  3. Adult Lice:- An adult louse is approximately the size of 3 to 4mm. It lives about maybe 30 days. The lifetime of female head lice is more extensive than a male. A female lays eggs 100 to 150 in its lifetime.

Lice Life Cycle

What is Head lice infestation?

The head lice infestation most often affects children. They hide in the hair of is an obliged parasite; they can survive only by feeding on the blood of a human being. The regular itching is caused by an allergic reaction to the saliva of these insects and arrives a few weeks after the first bites. It usually results from the direct transfer of lice from the hair of one person to the hair of’s not a sign of poor personal high hygiene or an unclean living environment.

How is head lice infestation diagnosed?

If you suspect the presence of lice, it is necessary to carry out an accurate check of the head, in good lighting conditions, and with a magnifying glass. Diagnosis is based on the presence of itching, nits, and the adult insect.

Especially in the areas behind the ears and on the nape of the neck, you can find nits (eggs): these are envelopes in the shape of tiny whitish rice grains (less than 1mm), stubbornly attached to the base of the hair. More difficult to see adult insects.

Lice must be alive, and in the presence of only nits, which may not contain the parasite, one cannot speak of pediculosis. The so-called coating can be used to identify and collect insects and eggs, which is to comb the hair from root to tip with a thick-toothed comb and a lot of conditioners.

How common is head lice infestation?

Head lice infestation can be found in any age or any gender, but most of the cases reported are of children. You can say that head lice are most common in school-going children aged from 7 to 13 years. The estimated ratio is 2/10.

Symptoms of head lice

Many symptoms are suspected for lice, but not all are concerned with this infestation. To clarify this myth, some of the most common symptoms are given here.

  1. Itchy feeling on your head or body.
  2. Irritation or crawling sensation.
  3. Sleeping difficulty.
  4. Difficult to concentrate on your work properly.
  5. You will find red bumps on your hair, neck, and shoulders.
  6. An indication to have lice eggs, you can see tiny white objects on your hair.
  7. You have swollen lymph nodes neck.
  8. Pink eyes / allergic reaction.

Head lice causes

The cause of head lice infestation is related to cleanliness and your hair length. The major part of our population, which is usually affected by head lice are the school-going children. In our research process, we conclude that mostly the girls indulge in this problem.

But in some cases, the results may vary to this. These insects can create an allergic sensation in our scalp or body. If you imagine that many tiny objects are crawling in your head, you surely will irritate through this situation.

  • Head to head contact.
  • They play with pets.
  • They are sharing their items like a comb, towel, hairpins, etc.
  • Children share their stuffed animals.

Some head lice precautions

To get rid of head lice, we go to a physician, and he may give us any medication for this purpose. It could be affected very severely for our skin, so we have to find a better way to avoid head lice. In our opinion, precaution is better than cure. That’s why here are some suggestions for you to take away the lice.

  1. Wash your clothing items with hot water.
  2. Don’t wear someone’s helmet.
  3. Mothers can check their children on a routine base.
  4. Properly clean your house or furniture.
  5. Don’t share items such as cap, comb, and hairpins.

Head lice prevention(Tips)

To cure any disease first, we have to prevent ourselves from this disease or its specific symptoms. So that we save ourselves from any kind of lice, in this case, the lice are not contagious, but it can spread through head to head contact. It also can cause any infection. So you must take it seriously and prevent these tiny parasites.

  • Avoid head to head contact.
  • Don’t share clothing.
  • Check before lying on the bed, couch, pillow, etc. that are infected by another person.
  • Never use someone’s earbuds.
  • Vacuum your floor and furniture regularly.
  • Refrain from sitting on a sofa or couch in hospitals or clinics because you never know that the person sitting before you may be infected to lice.

How to treat if you have lice?

There are many ways to treat this infestation. You can treat head lice infestation at home as well as in the clinic. It depends on the patient’s condition, whether it’s complicated or not.

The first step of head lice treatment at home

In the first step, we will check for the head lice that if it is lice or dandruff mistaken for lice? You have to comb your hair for this purpose, so do it with a nicely toothed comb. If you find it difficult to comb, you may need any help to smooth your hair. In our opinion, you should use oil before the combing process.

You can read here our detailed post about Best Head Lice Treatment

Who can get head lice?

Everybody! The cleanliness or personal hygiene of a person has nothing to do with having head lice or not. False rumors say that lice infestation is the result of poor hygiene. In fact, head lice seem to prefer clean hair than dirty hair because the healthier environment is more comfortable for them. Moreover, they are more likely to be able to grip clean hair rather than oily hair.

Who can get head lice


Head Lice in Children

As much as you can take care of your children’s hygiene and although the age group most at risk is from 3 to 11 years, even the youngest children risk-taking lice, especially if they attend crowded places such as nursery schools.

A precise practice must follow to limit the danger and eliminate any lice. There are no preventive strategies to protect yourself from head lice: the only thing to do is to check your child’s hair well to see if the annoying pests have arrived. Only in this case, we intervene with a specific treatment.

Can Boys get lice?

People mostly think that boys don’t carry lice. This is the wrong scenario. I see many cases that boys are also suffering from this infestation too. The main reason that boys share their hats or helmets and clothing with others.

Can Girls get lice?

How does this infestation affect the girls? Mostly the girls have lengthy hair or thick hair. In this type of hair scalp, lice are interested in living because they are difficult to find there. Another reason is that girls as friends share their items as combs or hairpins, which can transfer lice in girls.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lice:

Who takes lice more easily?

The infestation (pediculosis) can affect adults and children; the level of hygiene is not a discriminating factor. In general, the most frequent infestations are in children from 3 to 12 years old, and in particular in girls, this mainly because they are in an age group where they attend kindergartens and schools and are often in contact with heads, the girls then get infected more also easily because of long hair.

Where do lice come from?

Head lice are age-old parasites. They are scientifically known as Capiti Pediculosis. The eggs of nits are slightly smaller than a poppy seed. Head lice are up to 4 times more likely to be found in girls than in boys due to hair length and head-to-head contact. Lice are usually darker in color, making them more difficult to see on dark-colored hair.

What are hair nits?

Nits are eggs laid by female lice. When they hatch after a week, lice babies come out. The nits are located mainly behind the ears, and the nape of the neck, less than 1 cm from the scalp, and are light brown, transparent oval, and shiny when full. You can feel them to the touch, unlike dandruff.

Do head lice jump?

No, they do not jump or fly, because they do not have saving legs like the locust or the grasshopper. They also don’t fly because they don’t have wings. By cons, they move very quickly forward, backward, and even transversely like the crabs (by gripping the hair). Lice have legs provided with strong clips adapted to the shape of the hairs of their host. They can transmit by contact, especially direct from hair to hair, and more difficult indirectly: clothes, file seats (fluffy).

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