Head Lice, often called nits, are small insects about the size of a sesame seed that live on a person’s scalp. Head lice don’t discriminate between clean or dirty hair and spread quickly by crawling from one person to another. Whilst they don’t carry disease and are not dangerous they are annoying and can be tricky to get rid of. The lice lay their eggs on individual strands of hair and one louse can lay as much as 10 eggs per night with each egg taking 9 days to hatch. Head lice cannot jump, fly or swim so they can only be spread by direct contact.
The most common symptom of head lice is an itchy scalp but not all people experience this so it is good practice to check for head lice regularly especially with children.
The most effective treatments for head lice are chemical treatments. These are special shampoos that kill the head lice and the eggs. It is important to do a second treatment 7- 10 days after the first to ensure any surviving eggs or insects are definitely destroyed. It is also important to treat all family members who have them at the same time to reduce the chance of re-infestation.
As of 1 May 2017 Dimethicone 4% lotion is a head lice treatment fully subsidised when obtained via prescription from your GP. Dimethicone is a gentle treatment as it is not absorbed through the skin instead working by suffocating the eggs and lice. It is also shown to be one of the more effective treatments available.
If you suspect you or your children may have headlice, give us a call or book an appointment through your Health365 link. It’s easy to be treated!