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Head lice

A common Sense approach !

Firstly Don’t Panic !! 

You almost certainly aren’t alone in dealing with an infestation of head lice!

 

General Information 

  • Your child will not realize that anything ‘horrible’ is happening on their scalp! (Head lice prefer clean heads to dirty ones so be assured that an infestation is not because of bad hygiene)
  • .

  • Your child may even think that head lice are normal. Especially if friends are having the same symptoms and talk freely about ‘itchy heads’ with their friends.


  • Professional Views on treatment change… but it is a good idea to start a routine of regularly checking your child’s hair. Once a week should be enough to determine if they have caught head lice.


  • Follow the 3 step wet combing method; this can be done in or out of the bath. Try and make it an enjoyable time, share what’s happened to you both during the day.


  • Should you find any unwelcome visitors on your child’s head, it would be a positive gesture to inform your child’s pre school setting or school (and any other place they attend)


  • Check everyone else’s hair too.

As more and more parents find it hard to spend time combing their child’s hair, they are resorting to using chemical based treatments. Unfortunately as a result of this the head lice have become resilient to some prescription treatments and they will continue to build resistance to others if used too widely.

Following the natural 3 step wet combing method helps to break the life cycle of the louse without having to use harsh treatments on your child’s head.

  • It can however be very distressing for children who suffer from severe itching as a result of an infestation.


  • So early advice from the doctor on the best course of treatment is essential, before the child damages their scalp because of scratching. (applying chemicals to broken skin could be extremely painful)


  • Never treat with chemicals ‘just in case’ your child has head lice.


  • If you do need to treat your child with a formula/chemical - always read the treatment advice and follow the instructions carefully.


  • It is not your child’s fault they have caught the head lice….  (this infection is the 2nd most common in childhood!)


  • Please make sure there are good communication links between home and all the settings your child attends, as an outbreak of head lice can become quickly widespread.


  • Ask your school/setting if they have free nit combs available for parents. Inquire as to whom you could speak to in order to find out any other relevant information on what the school/setting is doing about outbreaks of head lice infestations and what support they offer parents who have to deal with treatments at home. 


  • If they do not have access to free combs you will need to buy one (the teeth on this comb are closer together than a normal hair comb, so that they trap lice in between) nit combs are widely available in good pharmacies.

 

Activities you and your child can do at home

  • Help your child practice brushing and combing their own hair.  This increases their confidence and knowledge about taking care of their hair and they will be able to recognize the symptoms of a head lice infestation when it happens.  


  • Have they a doll or teddy that could be used for combing or brushing it might be easier to start practicing techniques on these first!


  • Maybe your child could invent a new party style for you! (do have another adult around to help in an emergency if child is to comb your hair…it’s hard to get a tangled brush out of your own hair!!!)


  • Do you have a pet in need of a bath! Let your child help comb/brush out the fur.


  • Try out different shampoos and conditioners to see which smell your child likes the most!


  • Use the coloring pictures supplied in the PDF to talk to your child openly about the head lice so that they are aware of what to feel should there be another infection, comment on the fact that this is quite usual and lots of people/children have head lice and that together you are going to work at getting rid of them.


  • Explain that you need to know when their head itches or feels funny! (itching is not always present as a symptom) 

Persistence is the key to getting rid of these annoying ‘Parasites’

 

3 Step wet combing method

Wet the hair 

Shampoo

Rinse
 
Use a conditioner

Massage gently all over 

Rinse
 
Slowly comb through the hair close to scalp (with a nit comb) 

Check comb frequently

Wipe the comb off onto a piece of tissue.

                 

Lice Facts

  • Head lice do NOT jump/hop or leap from head to head but climb hairs when heads are close together.



  • There are reports that head lice can live off of the head for up to 36 hours once it has left the scalp, and whilst they move incredibly slowly during this time there is a chance that they could be transferred to other scalps by the following methods -

    • Sharing hats or other head garments

    • Hair brushes and combs

    • Hair drying towels 

    • Pillows could be turned over each night in order to prevent re-infestation.



  • Dry heat kills lice – Tumble drying clothing and linen will remove them.

These may seem like ‘over the top’ precautions to take, but where head lice are concerned it is always better to be aware of other steps you can take to help eradicate them from your family heads and home.

How do you know its head lice?

·        The adult resembles a sesame seed or a grain of rice and is light brown – grey in color they are also slightly transparent. 

·        They move very quickly over the scalp and are hard to see. 

·        The Eggs as shown in the diagrams are incredibly small. 

·        The live dark brown egg cases (nit) are glued strongly to the hair, close to the scalp. 

·        They are stuck on so well that you will have to use your nails to scrap it off of the hair. It will not be flaky, loose or crumbly.

·        Once the louse has hatched out, the egg case (nit) turns white and gradually makes its way down the hair as the hair grows naturally.

 

Dark brown/black colored egg case close to the scalp is live (louse is about to hatch)

A white/cream colored nit that is attached to the hair further down the hair - is dead (louse has already hatched)

It would be worth asking the doctor/health official what information they have about natural ‘Neem’ remedies.

Local specialist homeopathy/health shops should stock a range of herbal Neem products. This tree based substance eradicates lice and nits by attacking their nervous system and may be the way forward in helping to control the spread of these parasites

       

      Head lice Rhyme

Wash

rinse

condition

and comb

will leave

the lice

without a home.

 


 

More information on this subject can be found at -

Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Also

Treating headlice

Find Ideas & Activities for the Under Fives, Foundation Stage & Early Years

 

IMPORTANT - Hints and Things does not necessarily endorse or recommend any or all of the suggestions contained on these pages.  We would never recommend the use of pet shampoos, kerosene, etc., especially on children.  They may well get rid of the lice but can be dangerous and may call health problems in the future. Professional advice should be sought before use.

 


 

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