Your Worst Nightmare…A Child with Lice

The majority of parents with school-age children all fear the same scenario. A phone call from the school nurse! My child has lice? How could this have happened?

In fact, a recent survey indicates that two-thirds of parents actually worry the lice problem is on the rise in the United States. They are fearful of other parents not taking appropriate action to control the problem. They are concerned that lice are becoming immune to over the counter treatments that have worked in the past. So, how could this happen to your child? A better question to be asking yourself is, how can I prevent this nightmare scenario?

Tips for Finding Symptoms of Lice

One major indicator of a lice problem is an egg or a nit. These are most easily detected by literally going through the child’s scalp with a fine, tooth comb. Adult lice initially lay the eggs, yellow and tan in color, close to the scalp which acts as an incubator as they grow. Eggs are attached with a glue-like secretion that makes them difficult to remove.  Once eggs hatch the cracked nits become white in color and are more easily peeled off.  Because they take roughly ten days to hatch, look for nits ¼ of an inch from the scalp. This indicates that active lice might have already hatched and found their way onto the scalp.

Another symptom of lice is the adult bug. Because adult lice avoid direct light and live burrowed in the scalp detecting an actual louse is sometimes difficult. In fact, often when lice are contracted no more than ten adult bugs live on the scalp at the beginning stages. Consequently, if you see eggs but no adult lice you still likely have a problem.

A major indicator to watch for is itchy, red patches on the scalp. A child will sometimes get hundreds of bites from lice before they start to develop sore, swollen skin. It often takes four weeks before itching even begins. So, once you notice the itching- take action! These blood-sucking pests leave traces of fecal matter and saliva that irritate the skin and make life miserable for your child. Red, blotchy patches can scab over and often incessant scratching never lets the skin properly heal. This welcomes infection and can result in painful pus on the open sores. Sometimes, although rarely, children need to visit their pediatrician to be put on prescription drugs that will safely eliminate the infection.  

With this knowledge of signs and symptoms, you are better armed against the nightmare of lice. Keep a watchful eye and spread the word to parents in your inner circle. Contact our Louisville Lice Clinic for any questions or information you may need. We can help you safely and effectively eliminate this problem.


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