When to Visit Urgent Care for Head Lice and Signs to Watch For


The last thing a parent wants to hear from their child after coming home from school or a friend’s house is, “My head itches.” This simple phrase usually means one thing—head lice. With school back in session, parents are more worried than ever. September is National Head Lice Prevention Month, so now is a great time to learn about what you should do if your child comes home with lice. In this article, we’ll teach you how to know if your child has lice, what to do, and when you should visit urgent care for head lice.

What Are Head Lice?

Head lice are exactly what they sound like. These tiny insects live on a person’s head, specifically near the root of the hair shafts. Lice don’t cause life-threatening diseases like ticks, but they do feed on blood from the scalp. Their bites can cause red, irritated bumps, and their movement leads to itching on the head.

Head lice are tiny, a little larger than a period in a book. Most head lice are gray or white, but they can look red if they have recently been feeding on blood. You may also see white specks that look like dandruff. These are nits, or tiny lice eggs. Importantly, head lice can’t fly. Instead, they find new hosts by jumping or by being passed around on clothing items, brushes, or toys.

Signs of Head Lice in Children

You probably won’t see head lice right away unless you’re closely inspecting your child’s hair. Instead, you’ll need to be aware of the other symptoms they cause. These include:

  • Itching or scratching the head
  • Redness on the scalp
  • Dry, flaky scalp
  • Difficulty sleeping (due to the itchiness)
  • Tickling sensation in the hair

How to Prevent Head Lice

Of course, preventing head lice is much easier than treating them. The most important step is to teach your child not to share items that touch their hair or the hair of others. Nationwide Children’s uses the phrase “Never share what touches the hair.” This is a great way to help your child remember and prevent them from encountering lice at school or when playing with friends.

You should also check your child’s hair for lice frequently, especially during the school year. Use a fine-toothed comb and look for signs of lice or nits about once a week. Catching an infestation early makes head lice treatment much easier.

How to Treat Head Lice at Home

If your child has head lice, don’t panic. Many cases can be managed successfully at home. Over-the-counter shampoos made specifically for lice removal help kill lice and nits. You’ll also need to use a fine-toothed lice comb to remove any remaining lice.

Next, you’ll need to wash any sheets, clothing, towels, and blankets your child has used in hot water. Lice can live away from the body for several days, so this step is crucial to prevent them from coming back. It’s also a good idea to check everyone in the house and everyone your child has come in contact with for lice since they spread so easily.

When to Visit Urgent Care for Head Lice

Sometimes, treating lice at home isn’t effective. Your child may need to be seen by a healthcare provider to get the necessary treatment. Signs you should take your child to urgent care for lice include:

  • Lice remain after two at-home treatments
  • Open or oozing sores on the scalp
  • A fever or enlarged lymph nodes

An urgent care provider will carefully examine your child’s head lice infestation and determine the right course of treatment. Stronger, prescription medications may be necessary to get rid of all the lice.

Velocity Urgent Care Is Here to Help

If your child has head lice and over-the-counter remedies aren’t working, Velocity Urgent Care is ready to help. Our providers will assess your child and determine if prescription lice treatment is necessary. We’ll also help you remove the lice and manage other symptoms, like fever or open sores, so your child can start feeling better as soon as possible.

When you need urgent care for head lice or any other illness or injury, just walk in to any of our convenient locations. You can also make an appointment with our online registration portal to skip the waiting room and arrive when it’s your turn to be seen. We even offer text message updates so you can wait in the car (if you prefer) until it’s time for your appointment.

We’ve put strict sterilization protocols into place and are carefully handling patients who may be contagious to ensure each of our clinics is safe for those who need urgent medical care or occupational health services.

Velocity Urgent Care is an in-network provider for most major insurance plans, meaning you can be seen for the cost of your co-pay and deductible.

All our locations also accept Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. Veterans Administration beneficiaries are also welcome.

To learn more about our services, locations, hours, and more, visit www.velocityuc.com.