WHAT ARE THEY?
Lice are the actual parasite that lives on your head and feeds on your scalp.
Nits are the eggs they lay, generally on hair shafts close to the scalp where it is warm and creates the prefect environment for the eggs to hatch.
The empty eggshells also cause irritation and itching.
A cursory glance through the hair will not detect head lice. You are looking for active lice and, also for the translucent eggs (nits) that cling onto the hair follicle – both of which can be quite elusive!
The head lice can hop from place to place on the head while you painstakingly go through the hair area by area so leading to people concluding there is no infestation when in fact there is.
It is best to immobilize the lice by coating the hair in conditioner, comb it though with a regular comb and then fine comb the hair, dipping the comb into a bowl of warm water between each comb.
Section and comb the hair thoroughly with the nit comb. You will soon notice the little lice floating in the water if they are present.
The nits (eggs) are harder to detect as they look like tiny yellow, tan or brown dots before they hatch. Some people even liken them to tiny specks of dandruff but unlike dandruff they won’t move when you shake your head
Our aim is to
1.Kill the live lice
2 ‘Dissolve’ the eggs so they cannot hatch and produce the next generation
3. Remove any debris from lice and eggs
There are many treatments on the market but the basic principles are the same.
1. Wash the hair and comb through
2. Apply the solution all over the scalp being very careful to get it right down to the scalp and around all hair follicles particularly behind the ears and at the base of the scalp
3. Leave on for the recommend period of time (5, 15 minutes or 8 hours depending on the product)
4. Using the fine-comb comb through the hair, section by section, to remove any dead lice and eggs. Use the same method as outlined in the ‘detection’ procedure
5. Wash the hair with a non-conditioning shampoo. Many of the treatments are quite oily so may take a few washes to remove the oily product from the hair.
6. Repeat the treatment after 7 days and again after another 7 days if you feel it is necessary
7. In between treatments fine comb every 1-2 days using the procedure in the ‘detection’ section just to eliminate any odd hatchlings that survived the treatment. Particularly check for any adult head lice as this will indicate a new outbreak and you will need to treat accordingly
Which treatment you use will depend on many factors so come and talk to our trained staff about the various options available and we can recommend a regime specific to your family.
The bottom line is to be consistent and to follow through the whole process as outlined.
Create an environment in which the live lice cannot survive or lay eggs. This can be done using repellant sprays which you an spritz on heads before going out in the morning.
If you receive a letter from the school warning of an infestation, act immediately with the regime outlined in ‘detection’ and physically eliminate live lice before they get the chance to lay eggs. Strike early!
Come and talk to us – we are dealing with this every day so are happy to help and try to contain this persistent condition