Head Lice

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Head lice and nits are very common in young children and their families. Read on for more information regarding your treatment options...

What are head lice?

Head lice are small insects, up to 3mm long. They can be difficult to spot in your hair. Head lice eggs (nits) are brown or white (empty shells) and attached to the hair. They do not have anything to do with dirty hair and are picked up by head-to-head contact.

Head lice can make your head feel itchy, like something is moving in your hair. The only way to be sure you have head lice is by finding live lice. To do this, you can purchase a special fine-toothed comb (detection comb) from Mayberry Pharmacy.

Should I seek medical advice?

You can treat head lice without seeing a GP. Treatment of head lice should start as soon as you spot them in your hair. You need to check everyone in the house and start treating anyone who has head lice on the same day.

Wet combing

  • Lice and nits can be removed by wet combing. You should try this method first.
  • You can buy a special fine-toothed comb (detection comb) from one of our pharmacies to remove head lice and nits.
  • There may be instructions on the pack, but usually you:
    • wash hair with ordinary shampoo
    • apply lots of conditioner (any conditioner will do)
    • comb the whole head of hair, from the roots to the ends
  • It usually takes about 10 minutes to comb short hair, and 20 to 30 minutes for long, frizzy or curly hair. 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.

Medicated lotions and sprays

  • Ask a pharmacist for advice if you have tried wet combing for 17 days, but your child still has live head lice.
  • They may recommend using medicated lotions and sprays. These kill head lice in all types of hair, and you can buy them from pharmacies, supermarkets or online.
  • Head lice should die within a day. Some lotions and sprays come with a comb to remove dead lice and eggs. Some treatments need to be repeated after a week to kill any newly hatched lice. Check the pack to see if they’re OK for you or your child and how to use them.

If lotions or sprays do not work, speak to a pharmacist about other treatments.

Next steps…

If you have head lice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by booking a free telephone consultation with one of our experienced pharmacists for advice and support.

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