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Send Head Lice Packing!
Unfortunately, there is somewhat of a stigma associated with head lice as being unhygienic or dirty. However lice are in no way a reflection of an individual’s level of personal hygiene – they do not discriminate and they do not carry or transmit disease.
About head lice
· Head lice are wingless, crawling insects (about the size of a sesame seed) with 6 legs – they cannot hop, jump or fly
· Head lice feed on human (they do not thrive on pets) blood, though the scalp – this causes the itch
· Nits are the eggs of head lice – they are small yellowish-white and oval shaped. They are attached to the hair shaft about 1.5cm from the scalp
· They affect both adults and children
· They spread by direct contact of hair to hair
· Head lice will not survive much longer than 24 hours away from the head
Signs and symptoms
· Tickling/itching feeling in the hair
· Nits attached to the hair shaft that do not come out when the hair is shaken
· Lice on the hair or scalp, especially behind the ears and at the back of the neck.
· Sores caused by scratching – which can become infected
· It is important to trace all close contacts of infested people, so that they can be checked for head lice and treated if necessary.
· There are two main treatment options:
o Chemical (malathion, pyrethrin, permethrin)
o Natural (essential oils – eg. eucalyptus, melaleuca, sandalwood, lavender)
o Suffocation (e.g. dimeticone)
· With any treatment, it is not possible to treat in one application – follow up with re-treatment is essential.
· Ask your Pharmacist for a product that best suits your needs.
· You should only treat if head lice or nits can be found
· If there is any weeping or crusting of the skin on the scalp there may be an infection – see your Doctor
· Head lice treatments, especially chemical, should not be used regularly to try and prevent lice. This can cause irritation to the scalp and may lead to lice becoming resistant to the treatment
If you have any further question, please do hesitate to phone or call in and see one of our friendly Pharmacists. Also, don’t forget to pick up one of our FREE head lice fact cards.