Head lice are tiny parasitic insects that live in human hair near the scalp and are very common among children. They are uncomfortable but pose no serious health risk.
Head lice can spread between people who live, work or play together. They do not have wings, but crawl and move by direct hair-to-hair contact. They live on the scalp where they feed by sucking blood.
They are not a sign of poor hygiene, and have no preference for clean or dirty hair. Head lice do not carry diseases; they are simply a nuisance.
Infestations are most common at the beginning of each school year or kindergarten.
Contrary to popular belief, you must look for head lice. Many head lice infections create no symptoms and only some children complain about itchiness or scratching.
Head lice eggs (nits) are grey-white in colour, very small (the size of a pinhead) and attach to shafts of hair close to the scalp, behind the ears and at the back of the neck.
Lice are difficult to see. To check hair for head lice, use a magnifying glass in strong light, or:
If lice or eggs are found, the child's hair should be treated.
Your Guardian pharmacist will provide assistance and help you choose appropriate treatments.
This will likely require: