About Head Lice, Symptoms & Treatment
The subject of head lice is often hard to talk about, but pediatric virtual care at MUSC Children’s Health is here to help.
Head lice are tiny insects that feed on blood from the human scalp. Head lice infestations most often affect children and are usually the result of direct transfer of lice from the hair of one person to the hair of another.
Since they are small and move quickly, it can be difficult to spot head lice. It's easier to see their teardrop-shaped eggs, called nits, which can often be found near the hairline at the base of the skull or attached to the skin behind the ears.
Though infestations are not inherently dangerous, they can be difficult to treat. They are very contagious and should be treated right away to stop head lice from spreading.
Common Symptoms Associated With of Head Lice:
- Itchy and irritated scalp
- The sensation of something moving through the hair
- Scalp sores caused by scratching
- Swollen glands at the back of the neck (caused by bites that have become infected)
Head Lice Treatment
A MUSC Health Care team** member will likely recommend an over-the-counter medication that kills lice and some of the eggs. These medications may not kill recently laid eggs. Therefore, an appropriately timed second treatment is usually necessary to kill nymphs after they hatch but before they become adult lice.
If you are experiencing these or similar symptoms, connect with a doctor online today to receive a personalized treatment plan and feel better, faster.
**Your care teams include physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.
Questions? Call 843-261-5940