Get your head around head lice
Dealing with your child’s head lice can be frustrating when you get rid of them, only to find some months later that they’ve come back again. Lice have lived on human heads for thousands of years, so it’s often impossible to completely stop them. But you can help reduce the chances of an infestation.
Head lice don’t always cause itchiness. The best way to find them is to comb any type of conditioner on dry, detangled hair. Then comb with a fine-tooth, ‘head lice comb’, wipe the conditioner on a tissue and look closely to spot them.
Adult lice are usually dark brown (1–5 weeks old: size 2–3 mm), young lice light brown (0–1 week old: size 1–2 mm) and eggs, which attach to hair near the scalp, are grey-white (take 1 week to hatch: size, grain of salt).
You should treat as soon as possible after you find lice or eggs, either by using:
- The above conditioner method every 2 days until no live lice are found for 10 days
- A lice treatment product and repeat one week later (keep in mind that lice can develop resistance, so if in the first treatment lice are still crawling, try a different product).
Head lice are caught through hair to hair contact. Because there’s no research showing that lice treatment products can completely stop them, the best prevention is to:
- Wash any infested combs, brushes, pillow cases with very hot water
- Don’t share hats, combs, brushes
- Tie up long hair
- Regularly do the above ‘find’ method to detect re-infestation
For more information
- Talk with your GP
- Visit the NPS website