September 06, 2021 3 min read

Head Lice Treatments and Tips

Back to school can sometimes mean back to unpleasant visitors such as head lice. Head lice is common, however it can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable experience for children so it is good to be prepared. Let's look at what exactly head lice is, how to prevent it and how to treat it.

What is head lice?

Head lice are small parasites that feed on blood from the scalp. They have six legs and can be around the size of a sesame seed. Nits are empty egg cases that head lice hatch from. These are very small and can be difficult to see in the hair. Both are found on the scalp and like to hide in certain areas to hatch their eggs like behind the ears and braids. 

Who is more likely to get head lice?

You can have head lice at any age but it is common among children of school age and children with long hair. This is due to the likelihood of head-to-head contact while playing together and having sleepovers for example. Head lice cannot jump or fly to another person.

Signs and symptoms of head lice

  1. Scratching an itchy scalp
  2. Red bumps on your scalp or neck
  3. A sensation of something tickling you on your scalp

How I check my child for head lice?

If you are concerned about you or your child having head lice, the only true way to find out is to look at the scalp and look for a living louse. This can be done using a fine tooth comb.

  1. Wash hair
  2. Apply conditioner to wet hair (head lice find it difficult to move around on hair with conditioner)
  3. Brush hair with normal brush
  4. Part hair into sections
  5. Comb through each section, wiping the comb before moving onto the next section
  6. You will be able to see if head lice is present 

Nit Free Comb | Head Lice | Phelans Pharmacy Cork

Nitty Gritty NitFree Comb

How do I treat head lice?

At Phelans Pharmacy we have a wide selection of head lice treatments from shampoo, mousse, spray and lotion options. Treatments like these are great to kill head lice, nits or both. Make sure that you read all instructions thoroughly before using as each product will be different.

Pick a product that comes with a fine-tooth comb or buy one separately to remove the dead nits from the hair after treatment. Continue to check hair regularly after treatment to ensure that the head lice have not come back or a new infestation has not occurred.

Full Marks Head Lice Treatment | Phelans Pharmacy
If you wish not to use any chemicals in the hair, you can use a comb such as the Nitty Gritty NitFree Comb that removes anything that is attached to the hair such as lice, nits and un-hatched eggs. This is a more time consuming process but a great chemical free alternative.

Can I prevent head lice?

To prevent head lice, you can use a head lice repellent such as the Lyclear spray pictured below. However, the best thing to do is to regularly check your childs head for head lice. A quick check once a week should be enough.
It is also a good idea to tie back long hair and advise your child not to share items like hats and brushes. 
Lyclear Head Live Repellant | Phelans Pharmacy Cork

Head Lice Is Normal

Above all else, it is important to reassure your child that head lice is normal and is nothing to be ashamed about. It is common to catch them as a child in schools or playing with their friends and that they should not feel ashamed.