Guide How to get Rid of Lice - All About Lice : Lice Treatment,Detection,Management

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There will be instructions in the box on how to use the treatment.

Talk to your GP, midwife or obstetrician first if you or someone in your family is pregnant. Treat everyone with lice at the same time so that untreated people don't re-infect the treated ones. Repeat the treatment a week later, even if the instructions recommend only 1 application. This is important as there is no treatment guaranteed to kill unhatched eggs. Unhatched eggs will hatch over 7 to 10 days.

Nits may be left behind on the hairs but this does not mean the treatment has failed. Only treat if you find living, moving lice. Check the whole family again and treat all those with lice. If you still find lice, ask a GP or pharmacist for advice.

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Your child might still scratch after the treatment. This doesn't mean they have lice, but check your child's head to be sure. Do not treat again unless you find live lice. Overusing the treatment can make the scalp flaky and itchy. Anyone with hair can get head lice. Children tend to get them more than adults. Lice can spread when heads are touching for a minute or more. The lice climb through the hair from one head to another.

Lice can also spread through sharing:. Head lice survive less than days if they fall off a person and cannot feed.

Everything You Need to Know About a Head Lice Infestation

Nits usually die within a week if they are not kept at the same temperature as that found close to the human scalp. This is simply not true. Lice are attracted to blood, not to dirty hair. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home has nothing to do with getting head lice. Dogs, cats, and other pets do not spread lice. Lice pass from person to person through close contact with the hair or personal items of a person with head lice.

Although head lice can cause symptoms such as itching or scalp sores, they have not been shown to spread disease. They are thought to be more a nuisance than a health hazard. Head lice can hold tightly to human hair, even when submerged under water.


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Chlorine found in pool water does not kill head lice. Lice cannot jump or fly. They can only crawl. They pass from person to person only through contact, either directly or through the exchange of a personal item such as a brush, comb, or hat. The louse itself is not the only problem for someone with head lice. The eggs of a louse, also called nits, must also be killed. Nits will hatch after about days and must be removed.

Head Lice Control

Many would consider this approach to be overkill. In truth, all pediculicide lice-killing products available today are susceptible to resistance. Stigma and tradition, however, combined with inadequate public and professional knowledge continue to hold schools responsible. Most NHS Boards in Scotland have developed their own guidelines on the management of head lice infection. Whilst responsibility must remain at the local level, the Scottish Executive is aware of concerns about the current lack of consistency in the advice and procedures for managing head lice infection across Scotland.

This guidance therefore seeks to promote a more consistent approach to policy and practice. They are difficult to detect in dry hair even when the head is closely inspected. Head lice often cause itching, but this is not always the case. Head lice live on, or very close to the scalp at the base of the hair, where they find both food and warmth. They feed through the scalp of their host. The female louse lays eggs in sacs which hatch in 7 to 10 days. Nits egg sacs are usually white in colour and are often easier to see than the head lice themselves.

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Many people mistake 'nits' for head lice or believe that it is evidence of a head lice infection. This is not true. A head lice infection cannot be diagnosed unless a living louse has been found on the head. During their life span of one month, head lice will shed their skin up to three times. This skin, combined with louse droppings, looks like black dust and may be seen on the pillows of people with head lice. Head lice cannot fly, jump or swim; they are contracted only by direct head to head contact.

Contrary to popular belief, the length, condition or cleanliness of hair does not predispose any particular group to head lice infection. Anyone with hair can catch head lice, meaning that the problem, whilst often more prevalent in children, is not unique to them. Whilst cleanliness is not related to contracting an head lice infection, regular hair washing and combing does offer a good opportunity to detect any infection so that it can be treated.

Parents however, cannot be expected to diagnose current infection, or distinguish it from successfully treated previous infection or other conditions if they are not adequately instructed and supported by health professionals. Previous practice relied on the school nurse conducting regular inspections of pupils for head lice. The Stafford Report recommends that parents are best placed to be responsible for regularly checking their children for head lice.


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  • There are sound reasons for this. The first, and most important, is that 'wet combing' see below is the only truly effective way to carry out an inspection. Inspections in school by the school nurse were conducted on dry hair and were not, therefore, effective. To be effective, inspection also needs to be done on a regular basis. Inspection of a whole class of school children on one day will not detect a child who may become infected the next or any other day.

    School inspections are time consuming and can never be done on a sufficiently regular basis to make any real impact.

    Head lice - including symptoms, treatment and prevention :: SA Health

    The Stafford Report also highlighted the importance of de-stigmatising the identification of head lice for children and parents, by moving away from school inspection. Education and health professionals do, however, have a key responsibility to offer supportive advice to parents about how to identify and treat infections effectively. Schools have a key role and can provide valuable support by issuing comprehensive information about head lice detection and treatments to parents that includes information about contact points where parents can go for further advice.

    The Stafford Report highlighted that weekly checks, by 'wet combing', are proved to be the most effective method of detection. Taking a section at a time, a fine tooth detection comb is then pulled downwards through the hair, keeping the comb close to the scalp where head lice are often located. The comb is checked for lice after each section.

    This process should be completed weekly. If head lice are found, all other family members should be checked and, if necessary, treated. Checks should be continued following treatment to ensure that it has been effective and to detect any re-infection. Once infection is detected, there are two treatment approaches. One option is the use of insecticide lotions and another is mechanical removal called 'bug busting'. Parents should be offered information on both approaches so that they can make an informed decision for their family.

    The Stafford Report suggested that shampoo preparations are less effective than insecticide lotions. One treatment using insecticide lotions involves two applications, seven days apart. This is because insecticide lotions do not kill any eggs that may be present at the time of the first application.

    If eggs hatch and are not treated, the infection will continue.