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Telltale symptoms that your child may have head lice  
   
Once your child starts school, he or she will start bringing things home. Most of the time, they will be bringing things home like reading books, art projects, and report cards. But would you know if they brought home head lice?

Head lice are the plagues of schools. Highly contagious, these little vermin jump from one child to another with ease. And since you can have head lice without any symptoms, they can spread throughout an entire classroom before anyone notices. Here are some of the telltale symptoms that your child might have head lice.
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The symptoms

The first major symptom of head lice is that you see your child constantly scratching his or her head. They may say that the feel a tickling or get the impression that there is something moving in their hair. Or, they might have uncontrollable itching, which is often a sign of an allergic reaction to the bites (much like how a mosquito makes you itch). You might also notice irritability from your normally happy child, or sores and redness on the scalp caused by the itching. However, it is important to note that you can get head lice and not have any symptoms.

Things to look for

If your child has any of the above symptoms, the next step is to check for head lice. In order to confirm that you child has head lice, you need to find the dead ones. This is often easier said than done, however, since there may be as few as 10 live head lice and the adult head lice move very quickly. Because of this, most people will look for the eggs, known as nits.

Head lice eggs have very light coloring and will be found close to scalp and firmly attached to the hair shaft’s base. They may appear similar to pieces of dandruff, but you can tell the difference if you remove one. Dandruff comes off easily, while nits are hard to remove. You will also need to look to see if the nits are dead or alive, since only alive nits signal an active head lice infection. Dead nits are whiter and more dried out than the live ones, and you will find live nits closer to the scalp.

How to look for them

If your child has the symptoms of head lice, you will want to check for head lice right away. If you find nothing, check again in a week. If a classmate, friend, or family member has head lice, you will want to check again in two weeks to be sure.

To check for head lice, make sure that you have a good light. Watch for movement, and part the hair into small sections using a nit comb. Check all along the scalp, paying attention to the areas behind the ears, as well as at the back of the neck. Look at different angles to make sure that you do not miss anything.

Checking for head lice as soon as you have symptoms can allow you to treat the head lice infection quickly and easily before it spreads any further.
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