Head Lice

Head lice are tiny, wingless, parasitic insects. They cling to hairs, close to the scalp, and lay eggs (nits) – attaching them to hairs. So if left untreated it can be a constant cycle.

MYTH
Head lice can jump from head to head
BUSTED
Head lice have no wings and don’t have the ability to jump from head to head. Direct head to head contact is required for head lice to spread.1
MYTH
Head lice will cause an itchy head for all people infected.
BUSTED
Actually only around half of those infected with head lice will have an itchy head, as a result, using the condition and comb technique should always be used to locate lice.1

Signs and symptoms include seeing them on the hair shaft and or constant itching of the scalp and back of the neck although only around half of people with head lice will scratch their head.

Treatment Regime
To effectively manage and treat head lice a strict regime is required. It is important to not only treat the hair but also to regularly check to see if there are lice or nits which may have survived the treatment.

Checking for head lice
To effectively find head lice it is best to use the condition and comb technique. This involves combing hair conditioner into the hair and wiping the comb onto a paper towel to determine if there are any lice or nits. This technique is best completed weekly with a metal lice comb.

Treating head lice
If you find lice (or nits) there’s a range of products available for treatment.  These treatments include lotions, shampoos, foams and conditioners including a variety of active ingredients. Your Amcal Pharmacist can help you determine which the best product is for you as well as the best method to use the product.

The importance of regime
Some cases of head lice are very persistent because:
• Treatment not applied appropriately
• The lice are resistant to the treatment product
• A head lice reinfestation has occurred

You may need to treat and check the hair and scalp multiple times using the condition and comb technique to ensure you have treated it effectively.

Although there is no way to completely prevent catching lice, ensuring your children are not sharing their hats, brushes or combs, particularly at school,  can help reduce the risk.

For help checking, treating and reducing the risk of reinfestation speak to your Amcal Pharmacist today.


Reference:
Better Health Channel. (2014). Head lice (nits). Retrieved from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/head-lice-nits