Head lice and nits can be a nuisance as your child progresses through primary school. However, headlice are extremely common in young children and do not require a trip to your child’s GP. They are caught from head-to-head contact and can be treated at home. Taking our advice from the NHS, below is a step-by-step guide on what to do when your child starts to itch.
1. Check if it’s head lice
Head lice are small insects, up to 3mm long, and can be difficult to spot. The only way to be sure that your child has head lice is by finding live lice or eggs. You can do this by combing their hair with a special-fine toothed comb which can be bought online or in pharmacies.
One of the most effective is the Knitty Gritty comb which is NHS approved. Find it here: https://www.nittygritty.co.uk/products/
The best way to treat head lice is to act as immediately after spotting them. At the same time, check everyone else in your household and treat them all on the same day – this will prevent the lice moving constantly from person-to-person in a vicious cycle.
2. Wet Comb
Lice and nits can be removed by wet combing through your child’s hair. This method should be tried first. You can buy special combs (see Knitty Gritty above) to remove the lice. There will be instructions on the packaging to follow, but typically you should:
i. Wet your child’s hair and cover evenly in conditioner
ii. Comb the whole head of hair, from the roots to ends. The most effective way of doing this is to part the hair into small sections – this will ensure no hair is missed
iii. Repeat the process once every few days for two weeks, until no further signs of lice or nits are found
3. Medicated lotions and sprays
If you have tried wet combing for two weeks with no luck, ask your pharmacist for advice. They are likely to recommend using medicated lotions and sprays. These kill headlice in all types of hair, and can be found in pharmacies, supermarkets, or online. Head lice should die within one day – however, these sprays do not kill nit eggs. It is therefore essential to use a knit comb alongside. This will ensure that any lice eggs are also eliminated.
Some of our favourite tried and tested brands are:
Hedrin Lice Treatment
Full Marks head Lice Solution
To find more advice on how to identify and treat headlice, visit the NHS website: