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What Are the Symptoms of Lice?

help identify symptoms of lice itching bites scratching

Updated on September 11, 2020

Updated By Karen Sokoloff

Most people associate head lice with having an itchy scalp. As long as they are not scratching their heads or seeing their children scratching, they assume that they are safe. Take it from us at LiceDoctors, this is not always the case. 

Head Lice Symptoms

As you can imagine, we very frequently receive calls from concerned individuals wondering what head lice infestation symptoms are. The truth is, lice symptoms in humans vary from person to person. Here are a few tips to help you determine if you have head lice based on your symptoms:

My Head Is Itching!

The most common complaint we get from potential clients calling us is that, even though they haven’t had any solid evidence of a head lice infestation, they have been itchy;  maybe they even mention that they feel something crawling on their heads. While itching can be one of the most common head lice symptoms, it is not always the clearest of all symptoms of lice in hair. While some people are very sensitive and may feel itchy if one bug is in the hair, others are impervious to the lice and they may have several lice bites and not feel itchy at all. Definitely be alert to any itching or movement on your scalp that is out of the ordinary or persistent, often increasing at night.

I Have Sores On My Head

Sores lice sores bites itch scratch pain irritationon the head from head lice can result from head lice bites. Some people are more sensitive to lice bites than others. In the case of a person who is sensitive to lice bites, he or she will scratch. The scratching often can inflame the scalp resulting in sores in the areas that the lice are biting. Commonly, sores from lice bites are found behind the ears and on the back of the head near the nap of the neck. However, sores on the scalp can be from scratching due to other irritation or other skin conditions that can affect the scalp, so this is not always a sure symptom of head lice.

I Have “Little White Balls” Or Bugs In My Hair

A sure sign of a lice infestation is the present of either lice or their eggs. Lice eggs (nits) are translucent, sesame seed sized eggs in the hair. These lice eggs (nits) encase a baby louse (nymph) and are glued to the hair shaft. They must be picked out of the hair; they do not flake off. To the untrained eye, lice eggs can be mistaken for dandruff or dandruff can be mistaken for lice eggs. To tell the difference, try to remove what you are finding from the hair. Does it move easily? If it does, it is most likely dandruff or some other debris in the hair. 

head lice nit egg bug hair scalp itch symptom of

Live bugs, however, are a completely different story. If you’ve found a live bug in the hair of a person suspected to have lice, that is a sure sign that an infestation is present. Since bugs are mobile and difficult to find, usually if you’ve found a bug easily, the chances are good that the infestation is already at least moderate. If there is a heavy infestation, you may even see a louse crawl out of the hair.

head lice bug crawling on hair scalp itch bite

Causes Of Head Lice

If you have head lice, it is because you have hair. Nobody is immune to lice; in fact, anyone with hair can get head lice. While there are a few simple steps that can be taken to prevent an infestation of lice, rest assured that having head lice is not an indicator of your personal cleanliness level or a sign that you’ve done anything to attract an infestation. You might be surprised to learn that lice actually prefer clean hair because it is easier for them to grab onto. They are transmitted from person to person, most often when an uninfested person’s head comes into direct contact with an infested person’s head. Realistically, you, your family member, or friend could have gotten it anywhere. LiceDoctors - Where Can You Get Lice?

It is especially difficult to diagnose lice in your own hair. Do not waste your time on the internet searching for head lice symptoms pictures or reading articles that still leave you scratching your head. If you find symptoms of lice or decide that you need help to determine if what you are seeing are symptoms of lice, then give LiceDoctors a call at 800-224-2537. Leave lice-picking to the professionals! You will be happy that you did!

Lice On The Head