*Warning this may make you itch!*
It's a new school year, and unfortunately for some it comes hand in hand with the dreaded case of headlice! We have some top tips for getting rid of these univited visitors...
Head lice are insects found in the hair of humans which feed on blood from the scalp and their bites cause mild irritation. The adults which are the size of sesame seeds lay tiny white eggs (known as nits) which hatch into the lice. The eggs are cemented to the shafts of the hair and grow out with the hair strands.
Common in school children, the lice move from human to human through direct contact...they can not jump or fly!
Look out for itchy scalps, sores behind ears and nape of the neck and difficulty sleeping (as lice are active in the dark!)
If you suspect your family have head lice, don't panic! it really is fairly common and easy to treat. They aren't picky and don't have a preference for dirty or clean hair so don't feel guilty if your child comes home from school with some new "friends".
You can get anti-lice treatment from the chemist but we advise the old-school method of wet combing. This is the most effective treatment without using chemicals on sensitive scalps! For this you need to buy a detection comb which have special teeth 1-2 inches long that are close together to catch the lice. treat everyone in the family with live on the same day to stop further spreading.
1. Wash hair with shampoo, then grab some cheap thick conditioner and coat the hair.
2. Run the comb along the scalp and through the hair from roots to ends in small sections, checking the comb after each section. You can use a tissue to wipe between brushing.
3. Once you have checked the whole head, wet your child's hair apply more conditioner and wrap in a towel to remove excess water.
4. Comb through the hair again in larger sections, work fairly quickly because lice are sensitive to light and will scurry.
5. Boil water and clean comb after to disinfect.
6. Do wet combing on days 1, 5, 9 and 13 to catch any newly hatched head lice. Check again that everyone's hair is free of lice on day 17.
We recommend seeing your pharmacist if you are still finding live lice after day 17 who can give further treatment advice.
It's best to ensure long hair is neatly pulled back and tied up for school to reduce the risk of picking up the lice. We also find letting the school know that you've found lice can help with other children being checked and to help stop repeat cases.