Although not related in any way, head lice and infantile eczema can both cause your child tremendous discomfort and are two conditions that affect a large majority of youngsters at some or other stage of their young lives.
Many people think that head lice only invade dirty hair but in fact this is not the case. All the head lice are really looking for is a warm scalp to feed off and a place to lay their eggs!
Presenting themselves in the form of 2-3mm long insects, they feed on the blood from a human scalp by biting through the skin. This is what causes the terrible itch.
Living for only 4-5 weeks, these head lice constantly feed on human blood from the scalp as well as laying eggs which are called nits.
The nits are white in colour and attach themselves to strands of hair with a glue type substance and these pin-prick size eggs hatch within about seven days. They are laid on the hair around one centimetre from the scalp.
Get it treated
If not treated this process will continue, multiplying the number of head lice on your child’s head at an alarmingly fast rate.
The head lice themselves cannot fly or even jump but they can crawl really fast, using the claws on the ends of their six legs to hold onto the strands of hair.
The only way your child can get head lice is by touching heads with an infected person, by sharing their pillow, hair brushes, combs, hair bands, clothing, hats and the like.
Over-the-counter treatments from your local pharmacy are very effective, but you should keep your child away from other children as far as possible during treatment to reduce re-infection.
Extreme itching from infantile eczema
But the itching from head lice bites is in no way a form of infantile eczema. This is an entirely different condition and is described by the Encarta ® World English Dictionary as “an inflammation of the skin characterised by reddening and itching and the formation of scaly or crusty patches that may leak fluid”. The itching with eczema can be extreme and very difficult to control.
There is often a link between eczema and other allergies such as hay fever, sinusitis and asthma.
The good news, however, is that most children who suffer from infantile eczema tend to outgrow it. There is no medically known cause of infantile eczema but mostly it is a condition that is seen running in the family.
Infantile eczema more often than not presents itself in babies from as young as a couple of months old.
Signs of eczema
Extreme itch, a raw inflammation of the skin and an angry redness of the skin is how it tends to present itself. Most commonly attacking the skin behind the knees, in the bends of the arms, the wrists, ankles and the neck, this condition is generally a dry one but if infected through scratching these areas can become wet and weepy. But there are many children who suffer this condition pretty much all over their bodies.
If your child shows signs of infantile eczema it is important to get him to the doctor in order to get treatment that will ease the itching. Your doctor may well give you dietary advice for your little one and advise you to refrain from woollen and synthetic clothing, as these just irritate it even more.
Both head lice and infantile eczema can be controlled with treatment but the key is to get help quickly to prevent your little one from experiencing extreme discomfort.