Itchy Head. Is your scalp bothering you? Do people always itch when they have Head Lice? No, people do not always itch when they have Head Lice. Most people do not have itching for the first 3 months once they’ve contracted Head Lice. This makes sense from the Head Louse’s point of view. Head Lice do not want their host to know that they are setting up a Lice colony on their their head, until the Lice colony is well populated, and has sent out other Lice to other hosts to create satellite colonies. Then 3 months into the original Head Lice colony, the host often has an allergic reaction, which causes the itching. The Head Lice leaves saliva, anticoagulant, and anesthetic when feeding on a human host. All of these substances can trigger an allergic reaction to the bites.
Itchy Head. One of the most common myths about head lice symptoms is that your scalp and head will be itchy. In fact, very few people who have head lice also experience itching as a symptom. The truth is that is takes 2 to 3 months of an active head lice infestation before there is even a chance of itching. Why is that? Because when lice feed on the human scalp, they leave behind a combination of saliva, anesthetic, and anticoagulant when they take a blood meal. And these substances do not initially cause an allergic reaction in humans. However, after an extended period of time, and 50,000 – 100,000 head louse bites, a small percentage of people will develop an itchy scalp and/or an allergic rash on the back of the neck from the bites.
Itchy Head. So What Causes Itching? There are many reasons your scalp can itch and most of them have nothing to do with head lice. Your scalp can actually itch because it is sweaty, hot, dry, or even because you tried a new hair product.
Itchy Head. What If I Am Itchy? The truth is that most of the itching associated with head lice is due to an unhappy scalp that has had pesticide lice shampoo applied to it. Just like with a mosquito bite, itching can last up to 2 weeks after the treatment. It still takes time for the histamine reaction of the lice feeding on scalp skin to settle down. So, even after you have had treatment and dealt with the problem, the itching really does not have to do with the actual head lice. It is just associated irritation.
So, if you are feeling itchy be sure to consider other possibilities before assuming you have head lice. If you want the Peace of Mind of a definitive head lice diagnosis, give NitWits a call today at 617-816-9487.