child with head lice

Head Lice Virtual Care

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Symptoms and Treatment

Head lice are tiny insects that feed on blood from the human scalp. An infestation of head lice, called pediculosis capitis, most often affects children and usually results from the direct transfer of lice from the hair of one person to the hair of another.

Lice are so small and fast moving that they are hard to see. Head lice lay eggs, called nits. Nits are very small, silvery white, and teardrop shaped. They often can be found stuck to the hair near the scalp, behind the ears, and at the hairline on the back of the neck.

Head lice infections are not dangerous, but they can be difficult to treat sometimes. They are very contagious and should be treated right away to stop infection from spreading.

Symptoms of head lice include:
  • Itching of the scalp and scalp irritation
  • A tickling feeling of something moving through the hair
  • Sores on the scalp caused by scratching
  • Swollen glands at the back of the neck caused by infected bites

Head Lice Treatment

A MUSC Health Care team member will likely recommend an over-the-counter (OTC) medication that kills lice and some of the eggs. These medications may not kill recently laid eggs. Therefore, an appropriately timed second treatment is usually necessary to kill nymphs after they hatch but before they become adult lice.

If you are experiencing these or similar symptoms, connect with a doctor online today to receive a personalized treatment plan and feel better, faster.

**Note care team includes physicians, nurse practitioner (NP), and Physician Assistants (PA)

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