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Head Lice

Back to School ? but not with HEAD LICE

Sometimes the start of a new school term can bring with it an outbreak of head lice - a common problem that affects nearly all New Zealand children at some time.

But if your child does get head lice, Self Care pharmacists are ready with advice for parents about how to treat it and control it from spreading.

Head lice are small flat insects about two to three mm long that breed all year round.  They live on the human scalp, feeding on blood about five or six times a day.

Head lice move by swinging from hair to hair, clutching tightly with their claw-like feet.  They spread easily when children play close together as lice can swing from one child?s head to another.  Children can also spread lice by sharing personal items such hats and combs.

There is no need for parents to feel embarrassed about their child having head lice.  ?It is not poor hygiene - in fact head lice prefer clean scalps because it is easier for them to feed on,? say Self Care pharmacists.

To make it easy to search for head lice on your child?s hair, it is best to wet the hair first and comb it with a fine tooth comb.  You can wipe the comb with some tissue to check for lice.

Adult lice can be all over the scalp, but look for eggs stuck firmly to the base of the hair especially around the back of the neck and behind the ears.  Some children may scratch their head a lot if they have head lice but others may not complain of itchiness.

You can get medicines to treat head lice.  Your Self Care pharmacist can advise you about the different varieties of shampoos, creme rinses, sprays and lotions available and suggest one that is best suited to your child.

It is important to use the head lice treatment correctly.  ?Read the instructions carefully,? advise Self Care pharmacists.  For best results use enough product and leave it on the scalp for as long as stated.  Some products need to be applied to dry hair ? check the instructions.  Repeat the treatment you use in one week?s time because you won?t get the eggs the first time and when these hatch in 7-10 days, the repeat application can kill the hatched lice.

Parents often ask pharmacists how to prevent their children from getting head lice.  Here are some simple steps you can take if there is an outbreak of head lice in your community:
- Brush your child?s hair thoroughly every day - brushing can kill or injure lice and prevent them from laying eggs.  Everyone in the family should have their own hair brush and comb and not share with others. 
- Check all the children?s hair once a week for lice because the sooner you detect head lice, the sooner you can treat it and prevent it from spreading.

Tell your child?s teacher if your child gets head lice so they can inform other parents and help to decrease the spreading.

If you have some questions or need treatments for head lice please contact us

These products may be useful for your condition:
Lice Blaster
Prioderm Cream Shampoo



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