How to treat head lice

If you have checked your child’s head thoroughly and found that they do have head lice, you will need to take action immediately. Lice are itchy and won’t go away by themselves. Your child could also spread them to others so it’s important to treat them as soon as you find them.
 
First, confirm that your child does have head lice. Find the steps you need to take to check for head lice.
 
If your child does have lice, here are the treatment methods you can use:
  • Chemists sell lice medicine that is applied to the hair and followed up by a thorough combing with a lice comb that is specifically made to remove lice and eggs from the hair (one such medication is called Full Marks). You apply it to the hair for 10 minutes and it kills the lice and eggs (the egg killing part is important as not all products do this). You should then use a special lice comb (small white fine comb) to brush through the hair thoroughly removing the remains of the lice. When using the fine comb, wash it out in hot water after every stroke. You will have to very diligent to get all the eggs and lice out. It is recommended to retreat the hair again seven days later to catch any newly hatched lice that may have been missed first time. Such products may not be suitable for young children or babies so always check with the pharmacist first. To use this treatment you will need:
  1. Lice medicine
  2. A regular comb to brush and detangle hair
  3. A lice comb
  4. A plastic bowl of hot water to clean the comb
  5. Paper towels to wipe comb
  6. A cloth towel to place around your child's shoulders
  7. Videos, handheld games, books, or other distractions for your child
  8. Strong reading glasses or magnifying glass to see better
  9. Lots of light, such as a bright lamp that can be directed at the area you're combing
Make sure to read the instructions on the lice medicine before using as different treatments may have different instructions.
  • Some parents may want to opt for the mechanical method of removing lice, rather than using treatments with chemicals. If you are concerned about using such chemicals, try to eliminate the lice with a lice comb only. This is a tedious treatment that required diligence. You will have to do this every night for two weeks. Make sure to wet the hair before hand and clean the comb with hot water after every stroke. You will need:
  1. A regular comb to brush and detangle hair
  2. Conditioner
  3. A lice comb
  4. Clips or barrettes to hold sections of your child's hair
  5. A plastic bowl of hot water to clean the comb
  6. Paper towels to wipe comb
  7. A cloth towel to place around your child's shoulders
  8. Videos, handheld games, books, or other distractions for your child
  9. Strong reading glasses or magnifying glass to see better
  10. Lots of light, such as a bright lamp that can be directed at the area you're combing
In between treatments, put a few drops of tea tree oil (diluted with carrier oil such as coconut or almond oil) behind your child’s ears and at the nap of their neck during the day. Also use a tea tree shampoo. Tea tree hides the natural smell of a human scalp that attracts lice.
 
If one of your children has lice, you will have to check everyone in the family.
 

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The information contained on MummyPages is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis or treatment by a qualified medical professional. If in doubt, always consult your doctor.

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