Thursday, February 8, 2024
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
It’s back to school time and unfortunately for many school children (and their parents) it’s also the return of head lice.
It’s thought generally that between 20-30 per cent of primary school students are likely to get head lice at some stage. A single infested head can successfully infest a whole classroom and when the children return home, they often unwittingly pass the infestation on to the rest of the family.
The telltale signs to look out for in your child include if you notice them scratching, especially around the back of the neck and behind their ears.
For treatment and detection look closely at your child’s hair to see if they have small, oval-shaped, white or brown-black nits attached to the root of the hair, near the scalp.
If you do see nits, you might also see live head lice. Live head lice move fast so to spot them you might have to part your child’s hair very quickly.
Once you have discovered head lice you will need get rid of them as quickly as possible.
This is where your local community pharmacy comes in which stocks special combs as well as shampoos and other products to treat head lice infestation.
There are chemical-based treatments available as well as a number of treatments which are based on essential oils such as anise, rosemary, lavender, and tea tree oil. There is also a range of herbal products.
Talk to your local pharmacist about what treatment is appropriate for your child and other family members if they are infested.
Whatever head lice treatment is chosen, a fine tooth comb is essential to get the nits out.
If live lice are found in the combings after treatment, it’s possible that the head lice are resistant to the particular product, and retreatment should begin as soon as possible with a product from a different active-ingredient group.
If the lice are dead, treat again in seven days using the same product. If the treatment has worked, the lice will be dead within 20 minutes.
For more advice talk to your local community pharmacist.
By The Pharmacy Guild of Australia