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Symptoms and signs of head lice


It is really far from immediately to notice lice on the head and body. If an infected person does not know how to do this, he will learn about the presence of parasites in his hair late, when their number grows. In this article, we will provide important information about the symptoms of the disease, necessary for the early detection and treatment of lice.

Why are lice difficult to recognize at an early stage of infection?

Lice are small insects that are found on the body and clothes of people. They parasitize, feeding on human blood, cause severe discomfort to their carrier and create a risk of infection with dangerous diseases.

There are three types of bloodsuckers: head, pubic and clothes (linen) lice. The first two species live and breed directly on the human body (his hairline on his head, beard, eyebrows, armpits or pubis), the third spends most of his time on clothes, appears on the skin only to receive blood from the "donor".

Typically, lice feed only on human blood. These arthropods are distinguished by their small size, invisibility and fertility. The most common, head louse is no more than 4-5 mm in length (usually 1.5-2 mm), its larva is up to 2 mm, nits (egg laying) are up to 0.8 mm. The color is grayish, does not rush into the eyes, the body of adult individuals is translucent. They hide at the roots of the hair - in an area where they are even more difficult to detect. Here they leave eggs on the hair.

From all these factors, it becomes clear that it is difficult to see insects at an early stage of infection if you do not know what to pay attention to. Even the most sensitive people may not notice a bite of 2-3 individuals.

Blood is necessary for parasites to reproduce. A louse lives no more than a month, and during this time leaves about one and a half hundred nits, of which about a week later larvae appear. They quickly enter a mature state: after a few days, the nymphs are already able to lay their eggs. A growing population of parasites inflicts more and more bites, sucking blood, causing pain, itching, irritation.

Based on this, we can conclude that after 2-4 weeks of development of pediculosis, if nothing is done, the infected person will live in constant discomfort, constantly experiencing multiple bites. To prevent this, it is necessary to begin to treat pediculosis at an early stage, and for this it is necessary to know the symptoms of the disease well.

The very first sign: head itch

The oral apparatus of lice is adapted to pierce the upper layer of the skin, get to the capillary and suck out blood. During piercing, a person may feel a prick (comparable to a mosquito, albeit weaker).

Soon after, itching increases, I want to scratch a certain place on my head. This is due to the fact that the insect injects a small dose of an anticoagulant into the body, which does not allow blood to clot, and this allows the bloodsucker to finish his job and get a portion of the nutrient fluid.

A person needs to pay attention to this sequence. If a feeling of an injection occurred on the scalp, and after a while itching appeared - there is a possibility that these are lice.

Often people do not think about it: after a weak “injection” they quickly forget about it, and they do not take the appearance of a slight itch seriously, and, moreover, they do not reconcile both phenomena. Although, when these symptoms appear, you need to be careful.

Gradually, itching recurs and becomes a frequent occurrence. Important symptoms of lice:

  • itching persists and even worsens after taking a shower,
  • the head itches and prevents sleep at night,
  • at first it is localized at the back of the head and at the temples.

In the presence of pubic lice, such signs appear in the genital area and anal opening.

In children, the presence of bloodsuckers can be suspected by behavior. Child:

  • constantly scratching his head,
  • comb for a long time
  • often straightens hair.

If parasites are wound up on babies, then the kids cry a lot and are capricious.

When itching appears frequently, is too distracting, you should carefully examine the hairline in good light. Look through the hair in strands, paying attention to the root zone - arthropods spend most of their time there.

Skin reaction to bites, irritations

The enzyme that parasites inject into the skin leads to irritations of varying degrees and strength.

  1. It is necessary to look for places of insect bites. They resemble flea - red oval with a hole point in the middle.
    • In the presence of head lice, places can also be found behind the ears, on the neck.
    • Pubic parasites leave traces of the armpits, in the lower abdomen, in the groin, on the buttocks.
    • A body louse bites the entire body, and bite marks may appear in any part of it.
  2. The more bites, the stronger the irritation: redness can merge into one large area, leave on skin that is free of hair.
  3. In places where lice are constantly biting, spots from reddish change color to grayish-bluish. This is a sure sign of the presence of bloodsuckers on the body.
  4. An infected person combes the bite, due to this, wounds are formed, a kind of scratches that become covered with crusts. They are clearly visible to the touch, and is also a direct result of the activity of lice. These wounds pose a risk of harmful infections in the human body. In some cases, this leads to an increase in lymph nodes nearby.

If, along with itching, redness begins to appear on the skin, do not delay the start of treatment.

Hair sticking together

Lice fix their eggs - nits - on their hair, most often near the roots. They do this with the help of special gluten, which they themselves produce. Because of this, it is very difficult to get rid of nits, it is necessary to use special formulations to dilute the solution and perform combing.

Other hair sticks to this sticky secret, so they stick together, mats form. Most often this happens when there is no way to wash your hair often. The stuck together strands do not look very beautiful, are not just a sign of parasites in the hair, but also that they have already begun to multiply.

An atmosphere is created in the basal zone, suitable for the further development of bloodsuckers - inadequate ventilation, accumulations of dandruff, skin residues. Such conditions are harmful to the hair and increase itching.

The emergence of nits

Insect egg clutches are small droplet-shaped cocoons attached to hair rods. At first, they are not so noticeable, but the larger the population of lice, the more often you can notice small gray-whitish spots in the hair at the roots.

Nits indicate that the lice population has begun to grow. Given the high maturation rate of new individuals, you need to act right away - start treatment with the help of pharmacy drugs or folk remedies.

  1. You can find out about currently specialized specialized drugs for pediculosis in the material: "A selection of the most effective drugs for nits and lice."
  2. The rating of the most effective folk recipes for lice and nits is contained in the article: "The best folk remedies for removing lice and nits at home."

Nits are the first thing that catches your eye when examining your head. If the first offspring has already appeared, in the hair you can find dry nits - shells of cocoons from which the larvae hatched. Outwardly, you may feel that the hair is sprinkled with white grains.

Lice also leave excrement, traces of life can be found on the pillow after sleep: a lot of dark spots of very small size (ten times less than a millimeter) will be noticeable on white fabric. They crumble from the head: if there are a lot of them, then it is real to see.

Clothes (lingerie) nits lice are attached to clothes, to threads of fabrics in inconspicuous places. Upon examination, you can find many empty nits.

Risks and possible complications in the absence of timely treatment

If you do not start to remove lice on time, secondary diseases of a different nature may develop.

  1. Regular appearance of wounds, an increase in the number of bites, constant combing can lead to pyoderma (pustular skin disease), multiple pustules in the comb.
  2. The mood worsens, nervousness appears. Pediculosis can cause other nervous disorders.
  3. Deterioration of sleep, fatigue, stress. Constantly waiting for an insect bite can cause phantom visions of these parasites.
  4. There is a risk of allergies to certain substances.

Lice are carriers of dangerous diseases:

  • genital infections (except AIDS and hepatitis),
  • Volyn fever
  • typhus.

When the first signs or suspicions of pediculosis appear, you must immediately examine the hair of yourself and your loved ones. This should be done carefully and in good light. If insects are found, proceed with treatment immediately.

It is important to remember that lice can be transmitted in one way: from an infected person through bodily contact. Parasites can only crawl. This must be taken into account when dealing with strangers, do not approach people who can notice the above symptoms of head lice.

After reading this article, the reader will know how lice is manifested and, if necessary, will be able to begin surgical treatment. This will help reduce the risk of complications and speed up the process of eliminating bloodsucking parasites.

An interesting video about lice, their sources of infection and methods of control

To detect lice, you first need to carefully examine the hair, spreading it with your fingers and assessing the condition of the surface of the scalp. Lice can be either directly on the skin or on the hair a few centimeters from their base. It is also easy to detect nits (white dots on the hair) and red marks from bites on the head.

In the photo - characteristic symptoms of lice in a person at a late stage of infection. Lice and nits are visible to the naked eye:

You should also pay attention to typical signs of infection with lice.

Signs of lice in an adult

Parasites feed on human blood. During a bite, they inject a special substance into the wound that prevents blood clotting and causes slight itching. Therefore, it is possible to understand that lice are wound up by the appearance of unpleasant sensations in the temporal or occipital region. It is there that insects love to live.

Head lice can be determined by the presence of nits in the hair. Head louse fastens eggs with adhesive to the hair shaft. In appearance, the nit resembles dandruff. It is small in size and gray-white in color. But it is easy to remove dandruff from the hair, but the parasite's eggs are glued tightly.

Itching of the head does not always indicate the presence of parasites. It can cause allergies, seborrhea and severe stress.

The following symptoms of head lice indicate that pests on the hair are wound:

  • itching at night
  • the head itches after washing,
  • red dots appeared on the skin with traces of clotted blood,
  • there is a feeling that someone is running through the hair.
Signs of Lice

If it was possible to find a single individual, it is worth examining the hair. The series of photos below will help you understand how lice and nits look. At the initial stage of pediculosis, insects will be difficult to find. But with a thorough examination, they will be able to find their eggs and traces of bites of lice.

Signs of pediculosis in a child

Children can ignore itchy scalp and discomfort for a long time. Parents should be vigilant, because it is not easy to detect lice. To find out if there are lice on the head of a child, a routine examination will help. Examine the hair should be once a week.

Use a frontal flashlight during inspection. Its light will facilitate the search for small parasites.

In the early stages of head lice, the child may feel a slight tingling and itching. If the baby has become restless and moody, then it is necessary to examine his hair and check his body for bites.

The following symptoms should alert parents:

  • daughter or son constantly scratches the scalp,
  • the child behaves uneasily, complains of insomnia and dizziness,
  • bite marks appeared on the back of the head and behind the ears.

Moms and dads for a long time may not even realize that the child has lice. After all, insects parasitize not only on the head. The clothes louse lives among clothes, and she needs a person only as a source of nutrition. Therefore, it is also worth inspecting clothes.

Symptoms of the Plasma

Pediculosis is not only a headache. Detection of lice is possible on the pubis, in the armpits, on the eyelashes and eyebrows. Infection with the scaffold is called phthyroidism and refers to sexually transmitted diseases.

An adult can pick up pubic lice in a bath, pool or sauna. But most often, the pest moves to a healthy person during sexual contact.

It is not difficult to determine the presence of lice of this type if you know the symptoms of phthiriasis:

  1. The pest causes intolerable itching in the bite - the pubis and anus.
  2. In the advanced stages, traces of bites in the lower abdomen and on the hips can be found.
  3. Small brown spots appear on the underwear - these are traces of the activity of pubic lice in humans.
  4. The trail from the bite of the surface has a blue tint.

It is easier to see the plosma after feeding it. Then the insect turns dark orange or brown.

You can find the parasite on the chest and abdomen. Men may notice a pest on their mustache and beard. The insect does not settle on the head.

Itching on the head

The first signs of lice are always light scratches in places where insects bite. The only food of these parasites (both in adult insects and in larvae) is human blood, and in order to reach the blood vessels with their jaws, they pierce the skin and introduce a special secret that prevents blood clotting.

During a bite, a person may feel a slight injection similar to a mosquito, and when an anticoagulation enzyme begins to act, itching appears.

Usually, when a person is bitten by only a few lice, he does not pay attention to itching. Itching becomes obvious and interfering with normal functioning even when several tens or more lice appear.

Of all the symptoms of the presence of head lice in the hair, itching is the first to attract attention - at this time, the parasites themselves can not be noticed with an insufficiently thorough examination, and the skin reaction also does not appear too clearly.

Pay particular attention to the itching should be in the case when it does not go away after washing the hair and tormenting at night. This is a clear sign that parasites or other skin problems cause it.

Itching in another person, especially a child, is recognized by characteristic changes in behavior: the infected person constantly scratches his head, straightens his hair, combes it with a comb, and pulls it.

Infants in this case become very moody and constantly cry for no apparent reason.

The specific behavior of a potentially infected person should be addressed in public places. Even if the lice themselves are not visible to him, it is dangerous to just approach him - lice can be infected by contact of clothing, with accidental shaking of hair. If a schoolchild complains about a classmate constantly scratching his head, it makes sense to report this to the school medical center and the class teacher.

Regular pruritus on the causal site of pubic lice is a much more pronounced symptom of infection with them (compared with itching caused by head lice - because the head can itch even from nervous disorders). Fortunately, the owner of the parasites can immediately examine the pubic hair and immediately make the right diagnosis.

Persistent irritation, bites and their consequences

Also obvious and easily detectable symptoms of the appearance of lice are traces of their bites on the skin. As a rule, these are small point redness, each with a small, protracted hole in the middle. Such bites are very similar to flea bites.

With severe infection, the bites of lice merge into large redness and can protrude even beyond thick hair. Such symptoms of lice on the head are especially clearly visible - the patient’s skin becomes similar to that of dermatitis:

As a rule, with multiple bites, a person constantly scratches the itchy areas, which leads to the appearance of excoriations - characteristic scratches that occur when the nails damage the upper layer of the skin. They quickly crust over and become easily visible. These signs of lice can often be observed in strollers:

The characteristic symptoms of lice are also bluish-gray spots on the skin in places of constant hocus paws. There is nothing dangerous in these spots, but they clearly indicate precisely pediculosis.

Pediculosis Complications as Symptoms of Lice

Finally, if the first signs of the appearance of lice go unnoticed, complications developing on its basis may indicate pediculosis:

  • pustular skin lesions in places of scratching and secondary infection,
  • pyoderma,
  • nervous disorders associated with persistent itching,
  • sleep disturbances and phantom visions of crawling insects.

As a rule, such symptoms of lice develop in the most advanced cases and are characteristic mainly for homeless people. In children or adults who comply with sanitary rules, these symptoms usually do not reach the appearance of these signs.

В редких случаях на укусы вшей может развиваться аллергия.

Отличить её от других типов аллергий сложно и считать высыпания на теле надежным признаком наличия вшей нельзя. Nevertheless, if rashes appear on the skin along with itching, and even more generalized allergy symptoms in the form of an increase in body temperature and an increase in lymph nodes, it is necessary to check the hairy areas of the body for lice.

Bonding hair and curling

In cases where pediculosis develops in the absence of the ability to regularly wash your hair (hiking and expeditionary conditions, military operations, vagrancy), a quick symptom of lice in the hair becomes their rapid adhesion and the formation of tangles.

This is due to the fact that to attach the egg to the hair, the female envelops the hair with an adhesive secret, which ensures reliable adhesion of the nits. If the insect at the same time clings to several hairs, they all stick together. With a serious infection, the amount of such clumped hair becomes very large, and so-called tangles appear.

The skin under such warlocks itches not only due to lice bites, but also due to the accumulation of dandruff and lack of normal ventilation. Moreover, without regular combing, the hair rolls without lice, but this symptom can be taken into account as an additional symptom of head lice.

Nits and waste products of parasites

Nits can be attributed to the symptoms of pediculosis even more pronounced than lice bites and constant itching. They are already impossible to confuse with anything.

Nits are lice eggs in special protective shells that are firmly attached to the hair. It is nits, not lice, that are the first to catch the eye when looking at an infected head - they look like small white dots located at different distances from the hair roots. The most noticeable nits in people with dark hair.

Empty white shells of nits (the so-called dry nits) remain on the hair long after the larvae themselves hatch. Accordingly, the longer lice are present on the head, the more noticeable will be the nits. In the most advanced cases, the hair of an infected person looks as if sprinkled with white cereal.

Lice excrement is like small dark dots no larger than a few tenths of a millimeter in diameter. It is very difficult to notice them individually, but if they crumble from the head onto a sheet or pillow, then for the most part they become very noticeable.

They can also be found when breeding hair with your fingers - and the shells of nits, and the excrement of lice here will look like extraneous debris. Shells of nits of lice lice are especially clearly visible on dark clothes - this type of lice spends most of its life on things.

It’s worth knowing the symptoms of lice, not only in order to start the right treatment in time, but also for the purpose of prevention - if there is a person in a public place who constantly scratches his head and has characteristic redness on the skin of his hair, and even more so, he sees the “snowball” itself from nits, you should stay away from it. Similarly, you can easily identify a “lousy” child in a children's team and take measures in time so that your own child does not become infected from him.

Symptoms of body lice

The clothes louse chose clothing and bedding. On the head she is simply not able to gain a foothold. An adult can not suspect its existence, and perceive itchy spots as an allergy.

Symptoms of lice of this type are as follows:

  • bluish spots appear throughout the body,
  • it was possible to recognize lice in the folds of clothes.

In advanced stages, head lice can cause fever, nausea, headache and insomnia.

This type of pediculosis is rare and it is almost impossible to find it in your home. In a clean room, a clothes louse will not be able to start.

How to detect lice

To check for lice, you should examine the hair. Checking can be done at home, if you follow simple rules:

  1. Pediculosis examination is carried out in good light, better in daylight.
  2. Before inspection, you need to comb your hair.
  3. Use a magnifying glass. It will facilitate the search for pests.

Search for lice should begin with the temporal part of the head. You need to grab a thin strand and watch it in the light. So you should move from one temple to another. Then the nape is checked.

It’s not easy to understand independently whether there are lice in the hair. It is better to ask for help in this matter. A close person will help identify the parasite and traces of its vital activity.

For each type of parasite, a separate pediculosis treatment is selected. Therefore, you must be able to distinguish between lice. An independent examination of the scalp and underwear will help to detect the pest in time.