How to avoid and treat Head Lice

How to avoid and treat Head Lice

The words all parents dread but are almost sure to hear at some point in their children’s lives; Head Lice. Those tiny little critters, once in your household, spread like wild-fire and getting rid of them can seem like the impossible, but with these tips and tricks from our friends at Healthy Heads, you’ll have the little buggers gone for good!

Firstly, let’s start with what head lice are (because all we really know is that they give us the ick) and how they spread.
Head Lice are wingless insects (who would have thought!?) that spend their entire lives on the human scalp and feed exclusively on blood from the scalp. They bite the skin four to five times a day to feed! Lice do not discriminate against anyone, including the cleanest children in the class! They spread by jumping/crawling or falling from head-to-head, typically through sharing brushes/combs, pillows, bus seats or close / social contact (i.e. hugging, taking group selfies, playing close together so the Lice can fall from one person to the other).

What are the long-term effects of head lice?
Lice can cause itching and a rash; the more a person scratches the scalp, the more likely it is to break the skin which makes the scalp susceptible to infection. Lice are a nuisance and can disrupt people’s rest, but they are not responsible for the spread of any infectious disease-causing organisms.

Is there something I can do to prevent catching them?
The best way to prevent head lice is to:
– Avoid head-to-head (or hair-to-hair) contact during play and other activities
– Wear your hair as close to your head as possible (i.e. hair braid, plaits, bun or pony tale)
– Don’t share towels/pillows/clothing such as hats, scarves, coats, hair accessories or brushes
– Preventative Sprays can also work depending on the ingredients. A defence Shampoo and Conditioner can also be used if there is a lice outbreak on the community or home. This type of product can kill any new visitors before they set up house!

What is the first thing I should do when my child is confirmed to have head lice?
– Check all other people living in the home to assess the scope of infestation.
– Decide how you are going to treat the infestation. Inhouse treatment at home or seek a professional lice treatment service in a clinic.
– On the day of the treatment, treat all members of the family who are infested. If you don’t do this you are increasing your chance of re-infection.
– On the day of the treatment wash all bedding, towels, brushes, hats and any soft toys children may cuddle.
– A quick tip is to put all hair brushes, hair accessories and hats in a sealed plastic bag and place in the freezer for 24 hours.

Should my whole family have head lice treatment even if it’s just one of my child’s hair that I can see them in?
Not necessarily – just be sure to visually check all members of the family looking for eggs or lice (you can use a metal lice comb to do this as eggs and lice can be hard to find) for confirmation on who is / is not infected and go from there.

Can I send them back to school immediately after I have completed the treatment?
After a clinic lice treatment, all lice are dead and removed, and children are able to return back to school. Sometimes an additional treatment is recommended around 7 days after depending on the hair length, thickness and level of infestation.

Who is Healthy Heads and what do they do?
Healthy Heads is a dedicated lice treatment clinic established in Daw Park, South Australia. They put families at ease by providing a natural approach to lice treatment. Together with their cosmetic chemist and research from all over the world, they have formulated a powerful triple action lice treatment that’s safe and includes organic ingredients that are effective for the control and defence of head lice. Healthy Heads uses non-toxic ingredients, recycled products where possible and eliminate the use of unnecessary plastic in the manufacturing and distribution process. Children and Adults can both be treated at Healthy Heads using specialised lighting equipment and their carefully chosen ingredients which target the breathing holes of lice and eggs. You can view their in-clinic treatments and shop their products here.

Information provided by Josie Marks, Manager at Healthy Heads.