Head lice and nits are very common. Head lice are tiny insect parasites that live on the human head. They feed on the scalp several times a day by sucking human blood. Head lice reproduce by laying their eggs (nits) on the hair shaft close to the scalp. They are not dangerous, do not carry diseases and does not mean your child has poor hygiene. Head lice do not fly or jump so they can only be spread by direct head to head contact.
Signs of Head Lice
Signs of head lice may be itching on the scalp but this is not a sure sign. Often people with head lice have no signs at all. The best place to look for head lice is behind the ears and at the back of the neck close to the scalp.
Adult lice are usually dark brown and approximately 2-3 mm long. Young lice are usually light brown and approximately 1-2 mm long. Eggs may be attached to the hair shaft, they are tiny and can be very hard to see.
Treating Head Lice
- The best way of finding (and removing) head lice is by applying conditioner to the hair and combing through the hair with a head lice comb, then wiping the comb on paper towel.
- It is not necessary to see a doctor if head lice are found, safe chemical head lice removal products can be purchased from the chemist.
- Follow the directions of the head lice treatments, and seek advice before applying treatments to children under the age of 12 months or who have allergies or asthma.
- A child should be excluded from school, kinder or daycare until treatment has commenced. The child’s carer or teacher should also be notified.
Head Lice Facts
- Head lice do not carry diseases or infections.
- Head lice are not a sign of poor hygiene.
- Head lice cannot live on cats, dogs, bed linen or carpets.
- Any child who has come into contact with a child with head lice can also become infested.
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