With the first term of school in progress, how many of you have already had to deal with the dreaded head lice?
If you’re in the ‘nit club’, we feel for you! We’ve taken a look at the best remedies for getting rid of the nasties, and also looked into if there are ways of deterring them too. We hope that this helps all you fraught parents!
Firstly, what are head lice?
Head lice are very small insects, and can grow up to 3mm long. They feed off your blood from your scalp, which sounds pretty unpleasant but doesn’t hurt us!
There are lots of old wives tales floating around about head lice being a sign of dirty hair, or only affecting clean hair – no one is impervious, and head to head contact can cause a transfer regardless of your or your child’s hair.
What are the signs of head lice?
The biggest giveaway that you or your child has head lice is physically seeing live lice, but there are other signs too…
- Itchy scalp
- A feeling of movement in your hair
- Finding live lice when brushing with a fine tooth comb
- Finding their eggs in your hair – these are very small and white or brown, like grains of sand
The best methods at getting rid of head lice…
You need to treat the head as soon as lice are spotted to effectively get rid of them. It’s also really important to check everyone else’s heads in your household and contact anyone who may have had close head contact with your little one. School will appreciate a heads up as they can then warn other parents.
The best ways to get rid of nits are;
- Wet combing with a fine tooth comb and conditioner. Repeat until no live lice found, and then do again on day 3, 5, 9 and 13 to ensure any hatched eggs that have become lice are removed.
- Medicated hair lotion is usually advised, especially if wet combing has been unsuccessful. Your local pharmacist can advise you on the best products!
Ways that aren’t advised due to lack of proven effectiveness;
- Products containing permethrin
- Anything claiming to be a repellent
- Electric combs
- Plant oil treatments such as tea tree and lavender oils
We see our mummies & daddies rave about the Nitty Gritty comb – you can buy one here*!
How can I deter head lice?
We’re so sorry to break it to you, mummies and daddies, but you can’t deter head lice. They’re an unfortunate part of life for parents, all we can do is be vigilant! Some parents think that keeping hair short helps, which we can imagine would make a difference as it’s less hair for lice to find contact with, but there’s only anecdotal evidence to support this.
The NHS website says that regular wet combing can help by catching them early and preventing a full blown infestation, and advises against using medicated lotion to prevent head lice as it can irritate sensitive little scalps – it should only be used as a last resort when there is an active infestation.
Do you have any (safe) methods you’d like to share with us? Tell us in the comments!
Here’s to a nit-free school year… Love from Katie & Team BBY. Xx
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