Back to School: Preparing for the Threat of Head Lice

Back to School: Preparing for the Threat of Head Lice

When the summer holidays are over and kids are thrust back into buildings with hundreds or even thousands of classmates, there is an increased risk of them catching unwanted illnesses and ailments. 
Parents must be prepared for this as September approaches!

One of the most common health problems that children bring home with them after returning to school is head lice. 

Typically picked up through head-to-head contact, head lice can crawl or jump from one host to another – they live in human hair and survive on blood by biting their host’s scalp. 
Nits, which are often thought to be the same thing as lice, are in fact the empty egg shells of lice that are stuck to people’s hair.

More common among girls than boys, children will be exposed to head lice in both primary and secondary school, although the problem is more prevalent at younger ages. 

The toughest challenge, given the size of the wingless insect, is spotting them – the first sign will be irritation to the child’s scalp, and parents may also see small black specks, which can be a dead louse or its faeces, on clothes or pillows.

To check if your child has head lice, you can use a technique called dry combing; the NHS recommends that you use a ‘detection comb’ that has flat-faced teeth and a tooth spacing of 0.2-0.3mm. 
A parent then simply combs the child’s hair, making sure to cover all the hair on their head, and looks closely for lice as they do so.

Check out a quick video from the NHS for tips 

If head lice are present, then there are multiple options available to rid your child’s scalp of them. These include shampoos, sprays and gels – view our selection of head lice protection and prevention products, HERE.

For more advice and tips you can always #askourpharmacist


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