Most people think that lice are the only insects that get in your hair. While you may be thinking “can bed bugs live in your hair,” the truth is that it's unlikely but there are a lot of other pests that are found in hair. For instance, scabies, mites, beetles, and maggots are the usual bugs in hair other than lice, and if you've got an infestation on hand, here's what you need to know.
Identification of Common Bugs Found in Hair
The most common bugs found in hair include lice and scabies. Though not technically bugs in hair other than lice, you may be infected with folliculitis as well. To help you better identify what's causing discomfort and infesting your hair, here are these insects and conditions in detail:
- Lice: also known as head lice, this is the most common type of bug found in human hair that is located on the scalp, hair shafts, nape of the neck, or behind the ears. Adult lice are around the size of a sesame kernel, don't have wings, are either grey or brown, and have six legs. Though anyone is susceptible to a lice infection, a child is more likely a target. Lice attach their oval, pinhead-sized eggs or nits to the skin on your head and are usually yellow or bright white. Nits on your head will be firmly connected to the hair shaft.
- Folliculitis: this is a hair follicle infection caused by bacteria or fungus. Though not technically a bug, folliculitis can result in an infection, pustules, or red, puffy, and itchy pimples. A healthcare provider may prescribe a certain shampoo, medicine, or treatment for this condition.
- Scabies: scabies is brought about by microscopic mites that crawl under the skin. This condition is a result of tiny mites that leave wavy lines in the skin about 2 to 3 mm long which means that they've burrowed into your head. Though easily seen under a microscope, you won't be able to tell you have scabies unless little red pimples or blisters develop on your skin.
It is crucial to remember that only a clinical specialist should identify these bugs. Lice, folliculitis, and scabies can all be treated with a medical prescription, but the best course of action depends on your diagnosis.
Causes of Bugs in Hair Infestations
Bugs in hair other than lice can find themselves there for a couple of reasons. Hair infections happen every day due to the following:
- Poor hygiene: people who don't wash or rinse their hair and have an excess of oil buildup and dandruff are more susceptible to bug infestations.
- Contact with an infected person: if there's contact with a person that has bugs in their hair, you can get them from towels, hats, pillowcases, clothes, combs, headphones, or brushes. For instance, students in close quarters in a school environment can easily spread lice while other bugs can be transmitted through intimate physical contact like a sexual encounter.
- Water: some bugs like lice can be transmitted through the water like a lake or swimming pool.
- Public areas: individuals that come into close contact in places like gyms, hair salons, or movie theaters can get bugs in hair other than lice easily.
- Electronics: mobile phones, laptops, and tablets can be items where insects, lice, scabies, and eggs spread.
- Long hair: it's easier for bugs to attach themselves to long hair and lay eggs on your head.
- Hair treatments: people who use gel, hair color, and hair spray are more likely to develop a bug infestation.
- Children: a child is more likely to be a target for lice and other bugs because they hug, play, and share personal belongings often.
In the United States, these are the main causes of bug hair infestations that can be prevented and controlled.
Prevention and Control Measures
The best ways to prevent bugs in hair other than lice or just lice include:
- Have good personal hygiene and routinely wash your hair.
- Use preventive products like lice shampoo, conditioner, or sprays.
- Clean personal items like hats, brushes, combles, towels, bedding, pillowcases, clothes, and other personal items well.
- Avoiding direct contact with children or adults with lice, scabies, or folliculitis.
- Keeping an eye out for an infestation.
- Consulting a professional healthcare provider for prevention techniques, diagnosis, and management.
Remember, these tiny bugs can be found in the bathroom, your bedroom, or other areas of your house so stay vigilant.
Controlling Hair Bugs
Bugs in hair other than lice are a public health issue and an infestation can happen to anyone. Luckily, hair bugs are manageable by using a mix of natural and chemical treatments:
- Essential oils like peppermint or tea tree oil can get rid of lice and their eggs
- A lice comb can physically remove head lice
- Pesticides such as permethrin or pyrethrin in over-the-counter lice treatments such as shampoos or lotions are one of the chemical approaches
- A visit to the clinic can help healthcare professionals diagnose and put together a control strategy for bugs in your hair
While you can research other DIY methods or chemical products you can buy, we recommend reaching out to an expert as soon as you suspect you have lice, folliculitis, or scabies.
Bottom Line: Bugs in Hair Other Than Lice
Though lice are seen and dealt with every day, there are other bugs in hair other than lice that can cause discomfort. For your information, mites, beetles, and maggots can get onto the human body and infest your head. Additionally, folliculitis can cause itchiness, pimples, and an infection that's just as bad as having other bugs in your hair.
Thankfully, there are a lot of different ways to deal with bugs in your hair like maintaining proper hygiene, cleaning your personal belongings, staying away from infected people, using preventive products, and consulting a professional healthcare provider.
You can control current pest populations in your hair with prescribed medication, fine combs, essential oils, pesticides in shampoo or lotion, and with the help of experts.
Bugs in Hair Other Than Lice FAQs
What other insects commonly infest hair, besides lice?
Bugs in hair other than lice include mites, beetles, and maggots.
What are the telltale indications and symptoms of insects that infest hair?
You can tell that these bugs are in your hair if your head is itchy, there are blood spots, bites, lumps, pimples, or hair loss.
How can I avoid insects that feed on my hair?
You can avoid bugs in hair other than lice or lice by having a proper hair cleaning routine, staying away from a child that has lice, keeping personal items to yourself, and using preventive products to keep the bugs away.
What should I do if I believe I have an insect in my hair?
A doctor should be consulted right once if you suspect you have lice or bugs in hair other than lice.
How should personal objects be cleaned and disinfected to avoid re-infestation?
A simple technique to stop re-infestation is to wash personal objects like combs, brushes, scarves, and caps in hot water with soap or a disinfectant or earn how to properly wash certain objects. For instance, you'll need to know how to wash a silk pillowcase or linen clothing if needed.
How may hair-infesting insects affect one's self-esteem and mental health?
Bugs in hair other than lice can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. As a result, one may lose sleep, their sense of self-worse, and experience a decrease in their mental well-being.
What are some typical sources of infestations with hair bugs?
Households technological devices, schools, gyms, hair salons, other public spaces, and close contact with an infected individual are common sources of hair bug infestations.
What are the risk factors that can make infestations with hair bugs more likely?
Close physical contact with an infected individual, a child, long hair, bad hair hygiene, and the use of hair treatments like gel and sprays can increase the likelihood of a hair bug infestation. Like other bugs in the house, ones that infest hair could have been brought into your home via personal belongings.
Do exposure to lice and scabies for an extended period of time pose any health risks?
Long-term lice and scabies exposure can cause rashes, itching, and, in rare instances, secondary bacterial infections.
How can I deal with and prevent infestations of lice and scabies in a school setting and other communal settings?
It's important to educate kids, staff, and parents on good hygiene, encourage routine screenings, and take appropriate action if an infestation is discovered in order to manage and prevent the chance of lice and scabies infestations in group settings.