Headlice

 

 

Head lice can be difficult to treat due to the time-consuming and precise nature of treatment and high re-infestation rate.

In the past, traditional insecticides were used to treat head lice infestations but head lice would often develop resistance to them.

Therefore, these types of treatments have virtually been replaced with silicone and oil-based preparations which have a physical rather than a chemical action on lice.

After a head lice infestation has been confirmed you can treat the lice at home by wet combing the hair with a head lice comb or by using a lotion or spray that's designed to kill head lice (see below).

However, neither will protect against re-infestation if head-to-head contact is made with someone with head lice during the treatment period.

 

Wet combing

The wet combing method involves removing the head lice by systematically combing the hair using a special fine-toothed comb.

The comb's teeth should be spaced 0.2-0.3mm apart. Lice can be crushed or trapped between the teeth of nit combs with a tooth spacing of less than 0.19mm and remain unseen. 

You can buy a fine-toothed comb from your local pharmacy or you can order one online.

Lotions or sprays don't need to be used for wet combing. However, to be effective, wet combing needs to be carried out regularly and thoroughly. The method you should use is described below. 

  • Wash the hair using ordinary shampoo and apply plenty of conditioner, before using a wide-toothed comb to straighten and untangle the hair.
  • Once the comb moves freely through the hair without dragging, switch to the louse detection comb. Make sure the teeth of the comb slot into the hair at the roots, with the bevel-edge of the teeth lightly touching the scalp.
  • Draw the comb down to the ends of the hair with every stroke, and check the comb for lice.
  • Remove lice by wiping or rinsing the comb.
  • Work methodically through the hair, section by section, so that the whole head is combed through.
  • Rinse out conditioner and repeat the combing procedure.
  • Repeat the procedure on days three, six, nine, 12 and 15, so that you clear young lice as they hatch, before they have time to reach maturity.