How to get rid of lousy head lice

Head lice commonly affect young children – particularly in summer. Here’s how to eradicate them from your household.

12 November 2014
by Karen Nel

It’s easy to feel uncomfortable about the topic of head lice – they are, after all, nasty insects that take refuge on our scalps and then proceed to lay eggs in our hair. But the truth is that head lice infestations are very common in young children, who tend to spread infections by playing closely together or sharing personal items.

Lice can affect anyone and are in no way an indication of bad personal hygiene. In fact, lice tend to be most attracted to hair that’s very clean and shiny. Although lice can’t fly or jump, they’re very good crawlers and will easily crawl from one scalp to another, or from shared hairbrushes and hats.

Lice don’t spread disease, but they can cause an incredibly itchy scalp, and children who scratch their scalps severely can develop bacterial infections.

Lice versus nits

  • Live lice are greyish insects that are about the size of a sesame seed and move around in the hair very quickly.
  • Nits are the eggs laid by the lice. They look like light yellow or white dots and they stick to individual hairs close to the scalp. Nits hatch one to two weeks after being laid, and release a new batch of live lice.

How to get rid of lice

Most treatments include a topical spray or shampoo, as well as a fine-toothed nit comb, to enable you to comb the nits out of the hair. Clicks stocks a wide range of over-the-counter lice remedies. Ask your Clicks Pharmacist to recommend one that is best suited to your needs, as some can only be used on older children.

Here’s how to remove these insects once and for all:

  • Start by placing a white towel over your child’s shoulders.
  • Wet their hair thoroughly and then apply the treatment, taking care to follow the dosage instructions carefully.
  • Part the hair into sections and use the nit comb to carefully comb through each section of hair. Make sure you wipe off the comb on the towel after each combing motion. This will allow you to spot any nits that have come off with the comb.
  • After combing through the hair, leave it to dry naturally. Don’t use a hairdryer, as some lice treatments are flammable.
  • Don’t wash the hair for two days after you’ve treated it.
  • It may be necessary to repeat this process every three to four days.
  • Once you’ve got rid of all the lice and nits, try using a shampoo or conditioner containing tea tree or rosemary extracts to ward off new infestations because lice dislike these scents.

Try these lice remedies

  • Controlice Oil Spray and Controlice Head Rinse are natural lice remedies, which use essential oils to deter lice. The Controlice Lice Comb comes with its own magnifying glass to help you spot nits and lice.
  • Paranix Spray and Paranix Shampoo both come packaged with their own combs. Paranix Head Lice Repellant is a leave-in spray that can be applied to the hair to prevent new infestations.

Treat your home too

Lice can survive for short periods of time on items such as bedding, hairbrushes, hats, hairbands and upholstery. Wash all items that you can in a hot wash (60°C is ideal), and soak combs and brushes in boiling water.

Clicks Clinics

Clicks Clinics offer mother and baby services, including baby immunisations and baby wellness consultations. Pregnancy and mother wellness services include advice on breastfeeding, nutrition and teething. To find your nearest Clicks Clinic, call 0860 254 257.

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