Head lice infestation, also referred to as pediculosis, affects many people across the world. In most cases, the infestation is more common in schoolchildren, particularly girls and other family members. Other studies also suggest that women are more prone to head lice infestation compared to men. This article talks about head lice and symptoms of pediculosis.
What are Head Lice?
These are blood sucking parasites that thrive in the scalp of human beings. They feed on the human blood. When they exist in a large number in one’s scalp, then the condition is known as head lice infestation or pediculosis. These wingless insects cannot fly or jump and undergo three life cycle stages; nits, nymphs and finally adults. Nits are the eggs that adult lice lay. They are glued to the hair next to the scalp with a very strong cement-like substance. In most cases, people mistake nits for dandruff and flakes. Nymphs refer to the young lice, which bear close resemblance to the adult lice, but are a bit smaller in size. They can turn into adults within one week. Adults have six legs and claws are attached to each leg’s end. These claws allow them to cling to the hair. Adult lice can live for a maximum of one month and adult females may lay up to 8 nits in one day.
The Symptoms of Pediculosis
Head lice can be transmitted from one person to another through close contact with the affected individual or by his personal items such as hairbrush, hat, bed and pillow. After head lice have begun to spread, they may not cause symptoms for 2-3 months. The most common symptom of head lice is an itchy scalp, though some people may not experience it. The itching effect can be attributed to the lice saliva that gets injected into the human scalp, when feeding on blood. The body’s immune system produces certain chemicals to neutralize the saliva. The action of such chemicals on the scalp induces itching. However, itching might occur after 3-4 months of infestation.
The common head lice infestation symptoms include red or pustular sores. Although such sores are harmless, they may create a breeding ground for bacterial infections. These sores are triggered when one scratches the scalp excessively, due to itching. Besides sores and itching, the infested person can experience a crawling and irritating sensation on their scalp. If you notice any sign of lice, nymphs or nits on the scalp, then it’s certainly a good sign of pediculosis. In severe pediculosis cases, one may experience hair fall, dirty hair and darkening of some scalp areas with lice.
You can eliminate these blood-sucking parasites with the right head lice treatment products. Meanwhile, avoid people with head lice and never share your personal items with others. Get rid of these parasites promptly before they spread to the entire scalp. To get rid of these parasites from your hair completely and get clean hair, you should use the right treatment products daily.