Everyone knows that it’s important to treat lice as soon as they’re discovered. But what happens if you have untreated head lice for too long? Let’s find out!
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU HAVE HEAD LICE FOR TOO LONG?
We encountered an exhausted mom who had been battling head lice in her family for some time and was so tired she asked what happens if lice are left untreated. She wanted to know can head lice go away on their own, hoping they would eventually die off. If not, she was ready to give up and live happily ever after with long-term lice. There are a number of conditions that can develop as a result of untreated lice.
EXTREME ITCHINESS AND RASHES
One of the long-term effects of lice that is left untreated is extreme itchiness and rashes. Lice survive by feeding from blood in the scalp, so when they bite the skin on the head, it can cause a histamine-like reaction, much like when one is bitten by a mosquito. When bitten over and over again over the course of a long period of time, this can cause extreme itchiness all over the head, and the repeated scratching, among other issues, can cause rashes. This is one of the first and important symptoms, after which it is necessary to start treatment for lice.
The extreme itchiness caused by lice bites can bring on additional untreated lice symptoms and conditions. One of which is bacterial infections. Children tend to get lice more frequently than adults, and part of being a child is often not washing hands regularly. When you couple this with the extreme scratching that comes along with an untreated lice infestation, the potential for developing a bacterial infection is high.
Although highly unlikely, an example of what happens if lice go untreated is the bacterial infection of cellulitis. If this infection occurs, the patient would experience redness, swelling, pain, and tenderness in addition to warmth in the area infected. The treatment for cellulitis is prescription antibiotics.
Another possible, but unlikely, risk for what happens if you don’t treat lice is impetigo; this is a bacterial infection that requires prescription antibiotic treatment. This type of infection is most common in children and is a likely result of scratching open skin with the presence of the bacteria that cause impetigo present in the fingernails. This infection presents with a rash and small blisters that eventually result in a colored crust after the blisters burst.
SPREADING HEAD LICE TO OTHER PEOPLE
Far more likely than getting a bacterial infection is the risk associated with long term lice infestations of spreading lice to others. Head lice are spread when live bugs transfer from one person to another. What happens if you don’t treat head lice is the infestation will continue to grow exponentially. As the number of bugs continues to increase, so does the risk of spreading it to others. Everyone who comes into contact with a person with untreated lice is at risk of contracting head lice as well.
If a child continues to go to school with head lice, he or she can become known as a super spreader. This can lead to unnecessary bullying. The child has lice through no fault of their own, but the negative stigma associated with head lice can also lead the child to being an outcast, which is unhealthy. Another situation as a result of what happens if head lice is not treated is missing too much school, especially in schools with “no nit” policies. This can lead to low grades and penalties from the school as a result of missing too many days.
We’re often asked can untreated head lice cause hair loss, or more specifically, do lice cause hair loss. The answer is yes and no. The bugs will not directly cause the loss of hair. When we posed the question can lice make your hair fall out, the simple answer is no. It would be counterproductive to their life cycle to directly cause the loss of hair. However, what can cause hair loss, is the constant scratching of the itchy head, stress associated with having head lice, and continual combing of the hair in failed attempts to eradicate the case.
Before you decide to make peace with the thought that you may have head lice forever, consider the risks of what happens if you have head lice for too long. In most cases, head lice is not a serious problem, however, it does not come without the potential associated risks of infection, social isolation, bullying, and problems in school, as well as a guilty conscience if you ignore the case while your child passes it on to others. We understand that dealing with head lice is difficult, and for some has been an ongoing problem. Contact the best in-home lice treatment service in America to make an appointment. The service is all natural, 99.6% effective and comes backed by a 30 day guarantee. Why suffer another day, when help can be on the way to your home with a simple phone call? LiceDoctors will eradicate your case, no matter how severe it and that’s a guarantee!