Soon your children will be returning to school and the annual problems of head lice and nits will once again appear. Head lice are tiny insects which live by sucking blood from the scalp. They lay eggs which hatch after 7- 10 days. It takes about 10 days for a newly hatched louse to grow to an adult and start to lay eggs. Nits are the empty white egg shells which are left when the lice hatch.
Head lice live in hair and are common among school children 4-11 years old. Head lice are spread by direct head to head contact. They climb from one person’s hair to another’s. They’re very small whitish or grey-brown insects that range from the size of a pinhead to the size of a sesame seed. The only way to be sure someone has head lice is to find a live louse by combing the hair with a special fine-toothed comb. This is called detection combing. Once detached from the hair, head lice will usually die within 12-24 hours
Exploding the myths
There are many myths about head lice and how they are transmitted. Here are some facts
How to do Detection Combing
Detection combing can be done on dry or wet hair. Dry combing takes less time but wet combing is more accurate. To use the wet method you:
If you find head lice, you should check the rest of the family. Treat everyone found to have head lice on the same day.
There are 3 main ways of getting rid of head lice : physical insecticides, chemical insecticides and wet combing.
Permethrin or Malathion
With these products, treatments need to be done twice-seven days apart- to make sure any newly hatched lice are killed. Detection combing should usually be done two to three days after finishing treatment and again 7 days after that to check for any live head lice.
Examine children's hair regularly- use a detector comb as part of a weekly routine at home
Check clothes and bedding regularly for black spots ( which are head lice droppings)
Inform all close contacts if lice are found.