The human body serves as a host to various parasites both external and internal. Some of the human parasites thrive in the hair while some simply use hair as a convenient hiding spot.
Being familiar with the symptoms of some of these common parasites can help the individual and the doctor properly diagnose and treat any infestations. Even though some parasites mainly cause discomfort due to intense itchiness, there are other parasites particularly ticks that can put an individual at risk for acquiring various serious diseases.
Head lice are miniature parasitic insects that thrive in the hair and feed on blood from the scalp. The indications of a lice infestation include the following:
- Intense itchiness
- Visible nits or lice eggs upon close examination of the hair close to the scalp
Lice can be eliminated with over-the-counter shampoos but there are also prescription shampoos that are available if the over-the-counter options are not effective. In addition, pubic lice or crabs are highly contagious and thrive around other types of body hair as well.
There are several species of mites that thrive harmlessly on humans. The Demodex mites can thrive on human hair follicles. Even though there are several claims that these mites are responsible for various skin issues such as acne or rosacea, studies have proven them to be questionable.
On the other hand, a severe infestation of follicle mites can lead to dermatitis that can be managed with topical ointments.
Scabies can infest any part of the skin. Children face a higher risk than adults to end up with scabies infestation in the scalp area. Always bear in mind that scabies is a skin issue triggered by a minuscule, burrowing mite.
Scabies is considered extremely transmissible and capable of triggering intense itchiness in the affected location. The symptoms include small-sized, irregular blisters along the burrows. The condition is commonly treated with Lindane which is available in shampoo form that might be prescribed if scabies develops in the scalp. Just remember that this is not safe for pregnant women or children below 2 years old.
Ticks are oftentimes considered as insects but they are actually arthropods. They cling on to weeds and shrubs so that they can be picked up when an unsuspecting individual brushes against them.
Ticks look for hiding spots such as the folds or hair in the skin to feed on blood. The hard ticks that are common in humans are capable of burrowing into the skin. Due to this, it is vital to carefully remove them to prevent infection or the spread of the disease. You can use tweezers close to the skin to pull out the tick and thoroughly clean the bite site using an antiseptic.