HEAD LICE – it would never happen to me!
January 14, 2016
The head lice problem in schools has many facets
SOME ISSUES FOR PARENTS
1. Parents often cannot identify lice & eggs, therefore they don’t know when to treat! Tip: This silent video is quite good to help identify lice & eggs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAsfE8AWxzU
2. Many kids hate having their head checked & it is very stressful for parents to deal with a screaming, fighting child! Tip: distract them with a mobile phone or their favourite movie.
3. Parents think their house is clean, so their kids can’t get them! Tip: Lice will infest all hair – clean and dirty.
4. Parents think it may be a single class problem as opposed to whole school problem! Tip: If a letter comes home from school – check everybody in the house including yourself!
5. Parents are so busy they may not see the symptoms! Tip: Make a weekly check part of your routine. It only takes a few minutes!
The most common symptoms of head lice include:
1. Itching – if you notice your child scratching his or her head often, especially behind the ears or at the nape of the neck, check for lice. Usually lice can be found in these areas.
(Itching may continue after eradication of the lice & eggs, ask your Pharmacist or Doctor for advice)
2. Tired, irritable child – as scratching affects the quality of sleep, many children with lice can be quite irritable.
3. Sores on scalp – as a result of excessive scratching the scalp may become red and irritated.
LICE WILL NOT GO AWAY WITHOUT PROPER TREATMENT
Once a child has been confirmed as being infested.
1. Wash hair
2. Apply treatment product
3. Allow treatment to sit in hair according to manufacurer’s instructions
4. Comb hair using a normal comb to remove any knots
5. Using clips, part the hair into sections of 1-2″ squared
6. Using Nitty Gritty (best comb – 2″ metal prongs with serrated edges to dislodge lice & eggs approx €16)
Each square of hair needs to be combed in all 4 directions.
After each stroke of the comb, the comb must be cleaned. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zY4Nvab6uLM
The video shows it being wiped on a towel, however I recommend to also scratch the width of the prongs by your finger nail to let any eggs trapped between the prongs fall out.
7. Each section must be rolled up tight to prevent cross-contamination from un-combed areas.
8. Once all the head is combed, rinse the hair, shampoo & dry thoroughly.
9. The hairbrushes, bobbles, combs and anything else used on the hair must be replaced to prevent re-contamination.
10. Jackets, hoodies, hats, scarves and any other clothes touching the hairline must be either washed at 60 degrees Celsius or placed in a sealed bag for 2 weeks to break the cycle. After 2 weeks they should be hoovered before re-use!
11. Pillow cases, sheets & duvet covers, all facecloths & towels must also be washed at 60 degrees Celsius.
12. Pillows & mattress should be hoovered.
The cycle does not stop here.
Many treatments claim to kill the eggs – they do not!
Eggs that were not removed by the comb can still hatch within 1-10 days.
13. Combing must be repeated at least every 2 days for a 10 day period to ensure complete eradication.
Treatment product is not necessary for this re-combing, however in resistant cases, it is advisable to re-apply the treatment before the combing begins every second day.
If a child has had the head lice eradicated, or if they have not got them. There are medicated shampoos like Tea Tree shampoo which are very useful in preventing head lice.
14. The shampoo needs to be applied to wet hair, rinsed, then repeated ie applied & rinsed a second time.
The first shampoo merely cleans the hair by mopping up natural oils etc.
The second shampoo gives the hair a clean shine & good strong smell of Tea Tree to keep lice away!
For long hair there is a Tea Tree conditioner available.
It is important to note that the conditioner should only be applied to the ends of the hair, not to the scalp etc.
In the event the child becomes infested, hair coated with conditioner is extremely difficult to treat for lice.
15. Weekly combing will help control repeat infestations. Make a weekly check part of your routine. It only takes a few minutes!
Drimoleague Pharmacy stocks the following:
Treatments: Lyclear, Nitty Gritty, Hedrin, Full Marks.
Preventions: Tea Tree shampoo, conditioner & spray, Hedrin protector
Combs: Ivora, Nitty Gritty & more
Drimoleague Pharmacy is open from 9am – 6pm Monday to Saturday.
I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions, please call in to talk to our trained staff.