…and the Nitty Gritty on how to deal with Head Lice.
At Robert Byrne Hairdressing, we are all about healthy scalps. Now that school is back in full swing, we have had a few enquiries about how to tackle lice.
First of all, there is nothing to be embarrassed about: most, if not all children of school-going age will contract those pesky little head critters at some time stage. Clean or dirty, lice don’t discriminate as to what hair type they prefer to squat in. Fortunately, there are products out there that will deal with any infestation, but we highly recommend the tried and trusted Hedrin solutions as the ultimate in nit-busting.
We also have some extra tips about how to make the nit-busting process a more pleasant and tangle-free experience for you and your child so head this way.
1) ‘Once a week, take a peek.’
You might hear some grumbling when you ask if you can check your child’s hair, but there is a good time, preferably when they are watching TV or reading a book as they will already be distracted. Incorporating the check as part of a regular family routine, like brushing teeth, will normalise the process and cause less resistance. One of the more obvious signs that you or your child has head lice is itching, but in some cases there is no itching or it may take a month before itching develops. Also, the presence of nits does not mean the presence of lice. Nits can remain stuck to the hair shafts until such time they are either combed out or grow out.
2) ‘White is right.’
It is easier to detect lice and eggs on a white or light coloured comb. Make sure the comb’s teeth are no more than 0.3mm apart so there are no escapees. Research has found detection combing was nearly four times more effective than visual inspection for finding live lice. For added comfort, use a conditioner as the comb will glide through the hair more easily whilst teasing out any tangles in the process.
3) ‘Getting to the root.’
Head lice are mostly found close to the scalp unless they are in transit and already thinking about moving on to a new head, so make sure to comb from the roots and glide out wards to the very ends of the hair. Contrary to common belief, head lice do not jump or fly (they’re wingless) and are transferred by close head-to-head contact.
4) ’If you meet, then you treat.’
Only apply head lice treatment if there is evidence of live or recent activity. An adult louse is not hard to spot and is greyish brown in colour. Nits (empty eggshells) are distinct from dandruff in that they stick to the hair shaft and are not that easily brushed away. Hedrin currently has a range of effective treatments. Hedrin Once is fast acting and will kill both lice and eggs within 15 minutes. Hedrin Treat & Go is quick to apply and can be left in the hair overnight. And for bath time, there’s Hedrin Shampoo, which can kill lice within 10 minutes. It’s important to follow the instructions on the pack carefully regarding length of time to leave the lotion in the hair and re-application.
5) ‘More fact or fiction.’
Fiction: Head lice can be caught by sharing things like hairbrushes, towels or bedding.
Fact: Head lice only survive on heads, dying quickly away from their food source. Adults and nymphs can only survive for 8-24 hours without feeding or they become too dehydrated to survive. They can only be caught from human contact.
Fiction: Shaving a child’s head is the best way to get rid of head lice.
Fact: Lice like to live close to the scalp and can survive on hair as short as 2mm long, so cutting hair short won’t necessarily help.
Fiction: Animals can carry and pass on head lice.
Fact: Head lice can only live on human beings; people can’t catch them from animals.
Fiction: Head lice are only caught from other children at school.
Fact: A lot of head lice infections are caught from family and friends in the home and local community, not just at school – parents typically start to worry about lice when children go back to school so they are more likely to look for an infection and presume the lice were caught there. Should you find lice on your child’s hair, it is beneficial for all to let the school know so that further outbreaks can be controlled and eradicated.
We hope that our advice about lice has been helpful!
For advice on any scalp issues or to simply book an appointment, please contact us at Robert Byrne Hairdressing by phone on 046 902 1176 or 046 907 1100.