• Head lice are tiny grey-brown, wingless insects, which live by sucking blood from the scalp.
  • Their eggs (nits) are laid glued to the base of hairs, and look like tiny white specks.
  • Anyone with hair can catch them.
  • Infestation often causes itching of the scalp, but may also go unnoticed.
  • If you suspect head lice, check the base of hairs for eggs and comb the hair over a piece of white paper to see if you can spot any dark mature lice.
  • The hairs behind the ears and at the nape of the neck are favourite spots so lice and eggs may be spotted here.
  • Head lice are transferred by close hair-to-hair contact. They cannot jump, fly or swim, but walk from one hair to another.
  • It is important to teach your child not to share hats, brushes, hair ties, etc.  Encourage them not to have head to head contact with their friends.
  • It is a misconception that head lice infestation is a result of dirty hair and poor hygiene; in fact, head lice prefer clean hair and skin. They like both long and short hair.
  • It is best NOT to wash your child’s hair too frequently.  The greasier the hair the harder it is for the lice to walk up the hair shaft to the scalp where they need to be to survive.
  • If you or your children have head lice you should check the rest of the family and alert close friends and your child’s school.
  • By not alerting the school you are risking having your child re infected even after you have treated them!
  • Itching is not always present and it can take up to three months after the initial infestation for an itch to develop. Therefore regular checks of your child’s scalp are vital.  This is the main reason why the cycle of head lice infestation doesn’t get broken in schools.
  • Remember if you get a letter home from school to indicate that there are head lice you MUST check your child’s head regularly to ensure they don’t have them, even if they are NOT showing any signs.
  • Tying back the hair of children with long hair helps reduce the likelihood of contact between their hair and that of an infected child.
  • Do not use medicated lotions or rinses ‘just in case’.  They should only be used if live lice are found because lice are becoming increasingly resistant to current treatments.
  • Regular combing of hair using specialised conditioners can help with early detection as well as treatment.  Your Burkes Pharmacist can advise you of the most appropriate for your child.
  • Once head lice have been detected the normal advice is to treat once, and repeat seven days later.  This ensures that any eggs that weren’t killed in the initial treatment will be killed off.
  • Lice can be a persistent and a recurring nuisance, so it is important to treat them quickly and thoroughly.  Your Burkes Pharmacist will advise you which is suitable for your child.
  • There is no need to wash clothing or bedding specially – any lice found away from the scalp are likely to be damaged, dead or dying, and so unable to start a new colony.