Flu Jabs | Contact the surgery now to book your appointment.

The Facts About Head Lice

  • Head lice are small insects (about the size of a sesame seed when fully grown) that live on a hair shaft very close to the scalp. They are difficult to detect.
  • Eggs turn from a pale brown to white when empty and these are then called nits which stick to the hair. The eggs take 7-10 days to hatch and the lice take 7-14 days to mature and lay more eggs.
  • They feed by sucking blood through the scalp.
  • Head lice spread by climbing rapidly from head to head during close contact – they do not fly, jump or swim.
  • Anybody can get head lice – both adults and children.
  • A lot of head louse infections are caught from close family and friends in the home and community, not always at school.
  • Head lice don’t care if the hair is dirty or clean, short or long. Therefore they are not a sign of poor hygiene.

How Do You Detect Head Lice?

  • Regularly (once weekly) check all the family by combing wet hair from the roots with a fine tooth-comb.
  • Check in good daylight after each stroke of the comb.
  • Check heads regularly (once a week) by:
    • Washing the hair and leaving wet (but not dripping)
    • Repeat this action all the way around the head (this should take 10-15 minutes).
    • NEVER use insecticides to PREVENT infection, or just in case.

How To Treat Head Lice

  • Wet combing clears head lice over two weeks.
  • Wash the hair thoroughly with ordinary shampoo.
  • Leave the hair wet and apply lots of hair conditioner; comb through the hair from its roots with a fine toothcomb.
  • Clear the comb of lice between each stroke.
  • If you find any lice, repeat this routine every 3-4 days for 2 weeks, so that any lice hatching from the eggs are removed before they propagate.
  • Insecticidal lotions
  • Do not start treatment unless a living, moving louse is found. Ask your pharmacist/nurse/GP which treatment to use.
  • Apply lotions or liquids in accordance with the manufacturer’s instruction leaflet
  • Check the head 2-3 days after the first treatment. If you still find living, moving lice reapply the treatment 7 days after the first and recheck again as before.
  • All members of the family should be treated at the same time

Head Lice Fact Sheet