Video: How to treat head lice
Some facts about head lice:
- Head lice (or nits) are small insects that breed and feed on the human scalp
- Head lice have been around for millions of years
- They do not carry or transmit disease
- Head lice cannot fly or jump, they can only crawl
- Direct contact is required for transmission
- Head lice are common among children
- Itching is not a reliable indication
- Head lice eggs are oval and the size of a pinhead
- Adult head lice are 2-3mm
- There is no evidence to suggest nits are attracted to either clean or dirty hair
How to check for head lice
There are 5 easy steps to check for head lice.
Step 1: Comb conditioner into dry, untangled hair.
Step 2: Use a head lice comb to run conditioner through the hair.
Step 3: Wipe the comb onto a piece of paper towel.
Step 4: Check the paper towel and comb for head lice and eggs.
Step 5: Repeat combing for all sections of the head.
How to treat head lice
The aim is to kill the head lice and the eggs.
Option 1 : Continue with the conditioner and comb method every second day until there’s no sign of live lice for 10 days. Eggs hatch so be sure to repeat.
Option 2 : If you choose an insecticide product, make sure it has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for use. (AUST R or AUST L number on the packaging)
Do not use an insecticide product:
- If you are pregnant/breast feeding
- In children less than 12 months old
- If you have allergies, open wounds, or asthma
When using an insecticide:
- If it’s a lotion product the hair should be dry
- If it’s a shampoo, then the hair should be wet
- It’s important to follow the product instructions
- After treatment, use the head lice comb to remove dead eggs and head lice
- This will also help to see if the treatment has been successful
- No insecticide kills 100% of the eggs the first-time round so repeat the process 7 days later
- If the head lice are still alive it’s possible they are resistant to that particular insecticide
- Revert to the combing method or talk to your pharmacist or doctor to try another product
Preventing head lice
- There are no products currently available that prevent head lice
- Tie long hair back and check regularly
- Avoid using other people’s combs and brushes
Last Reviewed: 24/07/2019
Head lice (nits)
Head lice (or nits), which live and breed in hair or on the scalp, can be treated by wet combing with a conditioner or with various shampoos and lotions.
Head lice live in the hair, feed on blood from the scalp and lay eggs called nits. They are often most noticeable behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. Find out what products are available for head lice.
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