Head Lice - What is it?
Head Lice are tiny insects that feed on the human scalp. They are very common in young children & can live in both clean and unwashed hair. They can appear as live lice, eggs, or nits - nits being empty lice eggs. The transmission of head lice occurs through head-to-head contact.
Common Head Lice symptoms:
- Itchy scalp
- The feeling that something is moving in the hair
- Visible nits, eggs, or live lice. However, these may be hard to see by the naked eye.
Treating Head Lice:
Every parent’s heart sinks when they receive the dreaded note from school warning about head lice. However, do not worry – Jane Brennan from Brennan’s Life Pharmacy in Donabate is here to give us advice and tips.
The first thing to do is to check the child’s head. You will need some tea tree conditioner, a tail comb, a hair clamp if the hair is long, a warm glass of water, and a fine metal/head lice comb. Wet or wash the hair and towel dry.
Apply a thin coating of conditioner all over the hair and comb through. Start behind one ear, parting the hair in tiny amounts using the tail comb. Fine comb down the hair with the metal comb, starting right in at the scalp. Rinse the comb in the warm water and check to see if there are any small specks, which could be baby lice, or larger adult lice, which are about 2mm long.
Work your way all over the head systematically. Use the clamp to keep long hair out of the way. If you do find lice, then you should treat them. Head lice treatments can be purchased from your local Life Pharmacy in various forms;
- Treatment Shampoos
- Treatment Mousse
- Treatment Sprays or Solutions.
A member of the Life Pharmacy team can advise on the most suitable product for you. Usually, you should treat once a week, fine combing each day, until there are no more lice. This normally means two treatments.
Head Lice Tips:
An adult louse will spread from one head to another, climb up to the scalp, and start laying eggs. To help prevent lice, hair should be kept short. If the hair is long, it is recommended to style in a bun or tight plait and routinely fine combed once a week as described above. As well as avoiding head-to-head contact with other children, it is recommended that children do not share uniforms, hats, scarves, or coats. It is also worth noting that head lice preventative sprays can be purchased from your local Life Pharmacy.
If head lice are found, it is also advised to wash pillows, teddies, or clothing that may have been in contact with the recently infested individual.