Head lice are very common in young children and are usually picked up from head-to-head contact.
They can be difficult to spot, but when you do see them, they appear as grey-brown insects about the size of a sesame seed.
Some people may be aware they have head lice as they don’t experience the itch. But the lack of itching doesn’t mean that lice aren’t present, and the only way to be sure is by taking a careful look at the scalp.
If the scalp becomes sore and your child has a raised temperature and feels unwell, this cold be a sign the skin has become infected with the bacteria that causes impetigo, according to the British Association of Dermatologists.
So what is impetigo, how is it connected with nits, and what’s the best way to avoid it if you have a head lice infestation?
Impetigo is a contagious bacterial infection, caused by streptococcus or staphylococcus bacteria, that’s not usually serious but is very contagious.
If you or your children have had head lice for several months, they will probably be scratching their heads a lot and have crusts on their scalp.
The problem in this case is that the crusts might get infected with the impetigo bacteria.
Impetigo starts with red sores or blisters that quickly burst and leave crusty, golden-brown patches.
The NHS says these can:
- Look a bit like cornflakes stuck to your skin
- Get bigger
- Spread to other parts of your body
- Be itchy
- Sometimes be painful
If you or your child suspect having impetigo as a result of head lice, or in any circumstance, see a GP.
Impetigo is very infectious, so you should check with the GP before you go into the practice. They may suggest a phone consultation.
So the best way to avoid impetigo as a result of a head lice infestation?
Head Lice Center says treating nits straight away is the best method of prevention.
Follow this treatment method if you want to wave goodbye to nits, eggs and an itchy scalp.