Head lice are small insects that live on the scalp, cause itching and spread by head to head contact. They do not spread disease and anyone can get them. They are more common in children as their heads often touch when they play together. They may also be spread through objects like scarves, brushes, head phones, hats and helmets. Do not send a child with head lice to a school or child care facility until he or she has had the first of the 2 required treatments.
What to look for:
·Tiny wingless insects
·Crawl and DO NOT JUMP or FLY
·Size of a sesame seed and can be difficult to see.
·Greyish-brown in colour
Nits (eggs of the louse):
·Nits attach to the hair shaft very close to the scalp
·Size of a grain of sand.
·Brown in colour when alive, white when dead or hatched.
·Do not come off easily. Hatch in about seven days.
·Nits more than 1 cm from the scalp are dead or hatched, or may be dandruff.
Where to look:
Lice or nits are found close to the scalp, particularly around the ears, at the back of the neck and forehead. Use a bright light and magnifying glass if available. Part and comb wet hair into small sections to help you see lice and nits better. If you only find nits look closer for live lice. If lice and nits are present act quickly and treat both.
How to get rid of head lice
Head lice Treatment
Do not treat children unless they have live lice. Your pharmacist can help you choose a head lice product. You do not need a prescription. Read the list of ingredients and the directions very carefully. Ingredients with permethrin (Nix or Kwellada-P) or pyrethrins(R&C) are proven effective when used as directed.
Give 2 treatments 7 to 10 days apart. The first treatment will kill head lice but not all nits. The second treatment must be used again in 7 to 10 days after the first. Between treatments daily nit removal and hair combing are essential to get rid of head lice successfully. If you see live lice 48 hrs after the second treatment, contact your physician.
Daily nit removal and hair combing are keys to getting rid of head lice. After head lice are treated, removing the nits can help to prevent a new infestation. Even with careful nit picking some live nits can be missed. Children may return to school or child care facility after the first treatment even if nits still remain in their hair.
To remove nits, use a bright light and part hair into small sections. With a fine-toothed nit comb or your fingernails pull the nits from the hair strands starting at the roots down to the tips. This is easier when hair is wet. Wipe the nits onto a tissue and place in a bag for disposal. After wash your hands with soap and water and soak the comb in hot water.