What are head lice? How to spot and treat head lice.
Headlice are common among children
What are head lice?
Head lice are tiny insects that live in hair on the human scalp. They are brown-grey in colour and they are common among children. Head lice have six legs which have a claw on the end of each one and they bite the skin and feed on blood to survive. Head lice can affect anyone, and an infestation does not indicate dirty hair.
What are nits?
When a female head louse lays eggs, it takes around seven to 10 days for the baby head lice to hatch. The eggs are known as nits.
How to head lice spread?
Head lice is spread through head-to-head contact. Head lice can’t jump, fly or swim. It is very difficult to prevent head lice, but regular fine-tooth combing can help.
How to spot head lice
Head lice are very small and can be difficult to spot. Closely inspect the scalp, particularly behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. If you can’t find any lice then detection combing with a nit comb is an accurate method. The combs are available at pharmacies and the NHS say using the fine-tooth comb works better on wet hair, but it can be used on dry hair too.
How to treat head lice
Wet combing with a special comb is a reliable method of getting rid of head lice. There are over-the-counter lotions and sprays which are also effective if applied thoroughly. Don’t use these lotions or sprays though unless you find head lice - they should not be used just in case. The whole family should be checked too and treated if need be as head lice reproduce quickly.