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How to Spot Head Lice Symptoms

What to look for if you suspect your child may have head lice

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head lice symptoms

An itchy scalp may be a sign of head lice in children.

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Not sure if your child has head lice? There are some ways you can check to see if your child has this common problem among school-age children.

Typical symptoms of head lice in children:

  • Scratching The saliva that the lice inject into the skin during feeding can cause an allergic reaction and lead to intense scalp itching and skin irritation in many children.

  • Trouble sleeping and irritability Lice tend to be more active at night, which can interfere with a child's sleep.

  • Seeing the lice and/or nits Parents can take a magnifying glass and a bright light and look through a child's hair to see if they can see nits or lice. Lice tend to move very quickly and avoid light so they may be more difficult to spot than the nits.

  • Sores on the scalp Itching can also cause sores, which can in turn become infected.

  • Tickling feeling Some children may feel a tickling or a sensation of something moving in their hair.

In some cases, your child may not have any symptoms in the first weeks after he gets head lice, particularly if the infestation is minor. If you suspect that your child may have head lice, get a lice comb and periodically do a visual check to see if you can spot lice or nits. And talk to your child's pediatrician about diagnosis and treatment options.

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