Head Lice Treatments for Children

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It is that time of year, as everyone returns to school; you're more than likely to receive that dreaded letter about head lice. Head Lice, two words that will make any parent shudder. These tiny parasitic insects live amongst human hairs and feed on small amounts of blood that they draw from the scalp. They do sound absolutely disgusting but head lice are very common and really just a contagious nuisance. Head lice are grey-brown coloured insects and are around the same size as a pinhead or sesame seed when they are fully grown. They can be hard to spot in a head of hair unless you are specifically looking for them.

Schools are the perfect place for head lice to be spread as children come into such close contact. This allows the head lice to crawl from one head to another and around one in three children aged between 3 and 12 will catch head lice at some point in the school year. It is not only children that can catch head lice, adults can catch them too. All it can take is a cuddle with a child that is infected with head lice and soon enough you'll be scratching your head too.

The first symptom of head lice is most likely to be itching which is caused by an allergy to the lice. Children may complain of something tickling their head and if you part their hair into small sections you may be able to see the lice or nits. You should make sure you check behind the ears and the nape of the neck as well. They can be touch to spot as adult head lice move fast. The best way to find head lice are to use a special fine-toothed comb which are available at your pharmacy. Combing will work better on wet hair but you can do it on dry hair too. If you do find lice in your child's head than you should check the rest of the family too.

There are a number of head lice treatments now available but you need to remember that not all of them are 100% effective. Head lice treatments are available at your local pharmacy or can be prescribed by your doctor. Head lice treatments come in two types:

  • Synthetic chemical insecticides - easy to use and with good outcomes in various studies. However, they can be prone to resistance. Products include Full Marks Mousse and Lyclear Creme Rinse. They also tend to be ‘once' products, which is handy for busy families.
  • Natural insecticides - less prone to resistance, but often are not as comprehensive as their chemical counterparts.

You should check with the pharmacist to see which products are suitable for your child and you can also experiment with different head lice treatments. Only use head lice treatments if your child has head lice, they are not designed to prevent them only to treat them. Head lice are downright annoying, but they are nothing to be ashamed of. Regular checking and following the correct precautions can help to keep you and the rest of your family head lice free.

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