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Headlice

Head lice are tiny grey/ brown insects which live by sucking blood from the scalp. They lay eggs which will hatch after 7-10 days. It takes about 10 days for a newly hatched louse to grow to an adult and start laying eggs. Nits are the empty white egg shells which are left when the lice hatch.

The head louse (Pediculus capitis) affects only humans and cannot be passed onto or caught from animals. Contrary to popular belief, head lice cannot jump, hop of fly but are transferred by close hair-to-hair contact. They are not a sign of dirty hair or poor hygiene; in fact, head lice prefer clean short hair, Head lice are common in schools children, but anyone with hair can catch them.

Most people with head lice do not have any symptoms. An itchy scalp occurs in about 1 in 3 cases. This is due to allergy to lice, not due to them biting. It often takes about 3 months for an itch to develop after you are infected. So, you may not notice that you have head lice for a while and you may have passed them onto others for some time.

Head lice are difficult to find just by looking in hair. 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. Treatment is only needed if you see live moving lice. 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.

Treatment

Once infestation is confirmed head lice can be treated at home either using wet combing with conditioner, or medicated lotions combined with a special nit comb available from us.

Wet Combing Method

Wet combing or “bug busting” is a way of removing head lice without using chemical treatments. This method can be useful because head lice are growing increasingly resistant to the insecticides used to remove them. It relies of removing the newly hatched lice before they mature and lay eggs, thereby breaking the cycle.

Medicated Lotions or Rinses

A number of products are available which kill lice. Whichever product you use, follow the directions on the packaging very carefully. Young children (under 6 months) and pregnant women should always consult the pharmacist.

Shampoos tend not to be as effective as lotions or mousses as the amount of insecticide they contain is usually much lower (after they have been diluted with water during washing), and they are not in contact with the hair for as long a period.

Lotions come in water (aqueous) or alcohol. Aqueous lotions emit less of an odour and are better if you have asthma, eczema or broken skin. Alcoholic lotions should not be used by people suffering these conditions.

If you are in any doubt as to which product to use, ask your Pharmacist for advice.

Some tips to follow when a using medicated product.

  • Ensure you cover the whole scalp
  • Avoid getting product in your eyes as it will sting
  • If using a lotion, apply to dry unwashed hair
  • Leave the product to dry naturally for up to 12 hours (this depends on the products before washing off) – refer to the manufacturers instructions
  • Do not use a hair dryer to dry hair after treatment.
  • Re-apply the same treatment after 7 days
  • Inspect the hair using a fine tooth comb to remove dead lice and eggs after using your chosen product

Prevention

There is no good way of preventing head lice. Try to use a nit comb every week or so, to help detect head lice infection early, therefore if any infection does occur, you can start treatment quicklyand reduce the risk of passing them on to others.

For further advice of head lice consult your Pharmacist.

Ask your Pharmacist about

Mousse

FULL MARKS Mousse

(contains phenothrin)

Liquid

DERBAC M Liquid

(contains malathion)

QUELLADA M Liquid

(contains malation)

Lotion

FULL MARKS Lotion

(contains phenothrin)

PRIODERM Lotion

(contains malation)

HEDRIN Lotion 4%

Solution

FULL MARKS Solution Had Lice Removal Kit

NUMARK Head Lice Removal Kit

Hedrin Solution 4%

Shampoos/rinses

LYCLEAR Cream Rinse

(contains permethrin

PRIODERM Shampoo

(contains malathion)

FULL MARKS Detector Comb

 

Always Read the label

Ask your Pharmacist for advice


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