Head Lice

Head Lice

Head Lice are very small parasitic insects that live on human hair close to the scalp. The lice bite the scalp which causes the characteristic scratching that is often the only sign of infestation. Head lice do not jump or fly, but crawl from one head to the other on contact. They are not a sign of poor hygiene and do not live in bed linen due to their parasitic nature.

Signs of Head Lice

Itchy Scalp (caused by the saliva of the louse coming in contact with the scalp

Head Lice visible in the hair. Adult lice are dark brown and about 2 to 3mm long. Young lice are a lighter brown and 1 to 2 mm long.

Eggs (nits) attach to the hair shaft close to the scalp. They are very tiny and hard to see. They are greyish white in colour and about the size of a grain of salt.

If you find Head Lice

carefully comb hair conditioner through the dry hair

comb the hair again, this time in sections. A metal fine-tooth ‘nit’ comb is best to use. The hair conditioner will slow the head lice down. This gives you a chance to catch them in the comb. Wipe the comb onto a white paper towel to remove excess conditioner and any trapped lice. Examine the hair close to the scalp, especially behind the ears and at the nape of the neck.

Check all household members to see if anyone else has been infected

Inform the school or childcare centre, and any other contacts.

Treat the infestation – There are several methods of treatment available including hair conditioner, herbal remedies and insect decides

Once treatment is completed and all lice and eggs have been removed the hair should be checked weekly for any further outbreaks.

Prevention

check your child’s hair regularly

long hair should be tied back or put it up in a plait

use repellent sprays when necessary

avoid sharing combs or brushes.

soak brushes and combs in hot water for 10 minutes to kill lice and eggs

remind your child to avoid head-to-head contact with other children

Treatment

Our pharmacy staff are trained in all head lice treatments and can offer you advice specific to your requirements

Please speak to our Pharmacists in-store for professional advice.