Head Lice

Head lice are tiny wingless insects that are grey-brown in colour. They are the size of a pinhead when they hatch and 3mm long (the size of a sesame seed) when fully grown.

They are spread by head-to-head contact and climb from the hair of an infected person to the hair of someone else.

The eggs are white, pinhead size and difficult to see because they are often found close to the hair root.

Children are most commonly affected by head lice, although anyone with hair can catch them.

Getting rid of head lice:

Head lice can be effectively treated using medicated lotions &/or by wet combing using a specially designed head lice comb. You can also ask your pharmacist, school nurse/health visitor if you are worried about head lice or you want more advice about how to treat them.

Some medicated products may be capable of killing eggs as well as lice, although there is no certainty of this. A minimum of two applications of lotion are needed to kill the lice over the hatching period (7 – 10 days) because the lotions do not always kill louse eggs.

If the lice appear to be unaffected by the product (some lice may have developed resistance to a particular insecticide) or if the problem persists, seek advice from your school nurse, health visitor, pharmacist or GP.

Cautions:

Always seek advice from a healthcare professional before using medicated head lice lotions on the following groups:

  • Young babies (less than six months old)
  • Pregnant women
  • People with asthma or allergies

Pregnant women are advised to use either wet combing or consult your Midwife or Doctor.

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