I am sorry to say this word again but we are still having a major problem……head lice!!!

Head lice are a common problem in any community not just schools. Having head lice should not be seen as a stigma, as anyone can get them. It is important that when you treat your child you continue to follow through by checking and bone combing for several weeks. Sadly some products are marketed by companies which state they kill both lice and eggs. Most do not and if you haven’t removed the tiny eggs when you treat your child, those eggs may still hatch later, making you think your child has caught them again. Pillows, collars of jackets and any clothing where your child’s hair may come into contact, will also need to be washed to prevent your child re-infecting themselves.

As a school we do everything we can to help with this matter and the school cannot be blamed for the presence of head lice. The vast majority of the parents are doing the right thing and are, understandably, getting annoyed for having to re treat hair over and over again. If every parent checked their children’s hair for head lice at least once a week we would not have this on-going problem.

Treatments to get rid of head lice are available to buy from pharmacies, supermarkets and online.

The main treatments are: Lotions and sprays or Wet combing. Everyone with head lice in your household should be treated on the same day. If a treatment doesn’t work the first time, you can try it again, try a different treatment, or get advice from your school nurse, health visitor, pharmacist or GP.

Lotions and sprays:

 There are several different products that can be applied to the scalp and hair to kill head lice, including:

  • dimeticone 4% lotion or lotion spray – applied and left for 8 hours (usually overnight)
  • dimeticone 4% spray gel – applied and left for 15 minutes
  • mineral oil and dimeticone spray – applied and left for 15 minutes
  • isopropyl myristate and cyclomethicone solution – applied and left for 5-10 minutes

Some 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 or three days after finishing treatment, and again another seven days after that, to check for any live head lice.

Your pharmacist can recommend a suitable treatment and advise you how to use it correctly if necessary.

 Wet combing:

 Wet combing involves removing head lice with a special fine-toothed comb. It’s suitable for everyone and is relatively inexpensive.

A number of lice removal combs are available to buy. Combs with flat-faced teeth spaced 0.2-0.3mm apart are best for removing head lice, although combs with smaller gaps can be used to remove eggs and nits (egg cases) after treatment.

The comb may come with instructions outlining how to use it. A commonly used method is described below.

  • Wash the hair with ordinary shampoo and apply plenty of conditioner.
  • Use an ordinary, wide-toothed comb to straighten and untangle the hair.
  • Once the comb moves freely through the hair without dragging, switch to the louse detection comb.
  • Make sure the teeth of the comb slot into the hair at the roots, with the edge of the teeth lightly touching the scalp.
  • Draw the comb down from the roots to the ends of the hair with every stroke, and check the comb for lice each time – remove lice by wiping the comb with tissue paper or rinsing it.
  • Work through the hair, section by section, so that the whole head of hair is combed through.
  • Do this at least twice to help ensure you haven’t missed any areas, until no more lice are found.

Repeat this procedure on days five, nine and 13. Detection combing should be done on day 17, to check for any live head lice.

As I have previously said, if we all do this and check hair at least once a week we can get rid of this issue.

Many thanks for your cooperation and understanding in beating this problem.

Headlice 2