Head lice are a nuisance, but can they make you anemic? A recent case report from a medical journal suggests that an infestation of head lice can lead to anaemia, a condition known as iron deficiency anemia. While the incidence of anaemia caused by head lice is low in healthy children, chronic infestations of this kind can lead to anemia over an extended period of time.
Infestation of head and body lice is known as pediculosis. It is an asymptomatic condition that may lead to tingling or itching of the skin, irritability, and insomnia. In severe cases, the infection can result in iron deficiency anemia. Pediculosis is a treatable condition, however, with proper hygiene and use of a pediculicide.
The best way to diagnose a head lice infestation is to look for live lice and eggs on your scalp. Lice eggs are dark in color and cannot be seen with the naked eye. They may need a magnifying glass to be identified. If left untreated, head lice can cause many complications, including anemia and blood loss. In severe infestations, the infection can even lead to iron deficiency anemia and iron deficiency.
Although the causes of anemia associated with head lice are unknown, there are many ways to prevent it. The most important step to prevent lice is to maintain proper hygiene. This means frequent baths and laundered bedding and clothing every week. You also need to avoid head-to-head contact. Likewise, try not to share brushes or other items with others.