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