Head Lice is very common in the UK, and usually occurs several times in primary school children. Head Lice are 2-3mm long and are grey brown in colour. They need blood to survive and get this by biting the scalp. This causes itching.
How is it spread?
Head Lice is spread by direct head to head contact. They cannot jump or fly. Head Lice cannot be spread by sharing pillows, towels or hats. Even Lice that are seen on pillows cannot be spread to another person. They can only be spread by walking from one strand of hair to another. Having Head Lice does not mean your hair is dirty. They actually prefer clean hair.
Female Lice lay their eggs near the scalp to provide warmth. Once the eggs hatch, The golden brown shells (nits) remain stuck to the hair. However, this does not necessarily mean that you have Head Lice as the eggshells (nits) are not removed by successful treatment i.e. all live Lice may have been removed with just harmless eggshells remaining.
How do I check for Lice?
Wash the hair normally and, before drying, use a fine toothed Head Lice detector comb to check for Lice. When hair is wet the Lice cannot move, therefore it is recommended to check wet hair. Pass the comb through the hair, then check the comb for Lice. If you find live Lice, ensure that you also check other members of your family before treating.
- Combing Head Lice can be combed out of the hair using the Nitty Gritty NitFree Comb. It is highly effective and has received much publicity in recent years.
- Chemical Lotions and liquids such as Lyclear and Full Marks should be applied generously to the hair and, depending on the product selected, it should be left on for between 15 minutes and 12 hours. Follow the product directions. Head Lice tend to gather behind the ears and at the nape of the neck, so it is essential to apply to thoroughly to these areas. A repeat application should be carried out after 7 days to kill any new lice that have hatched from their eggs. This is because chemical treatments do not usually kill eggs. It is important to note that Head Lice can develop resistance to chemical treatments, therefore, if one treatment does not work, consult your GP or Zoom Chemist for further advice.
- Physical barrier treatments, such as Hedrin lotion or spray, work by physically coating the Lice and preventing them from moving, causing them to die. Head Lice cannot become resistant to this type of treatment
Please contact us for advice if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have asthma as some of these treatments may be unsuitable for you. Alternatively, see the product information. If you would like any more information about Head Lice, please contact our Zoom Chemist Pharmacist, or alternatively please start a new topic on our forum.