Head lice outbreaks could plague families this half term – how to beat the bugs without spending a fortune
HEAD LICE outbreaks could plague families this half term as the bugs can jump from kids to adults while you read your little one a bed time story.
While most parents dread the day their child comes home with nits, the coronavirus pandemic has meant that many kids aren't having as much close contact as they usually would.
You may have been lucky enough to escape the little bugs this year, but experts have warned that parents need to be on the look out for nits this half term.
Pesky lice are still thriving and close contact – even within your Covid bubble, could result in the bugs spreading from head to head.
While most adults will manage to escape head lice, it's still possible you could catch it from your kids.
Experts say that activities such as reading your kids a bed time story or cuddling up on a cold night could be enough to catch the critters.
Head lice expert Ian Burgess said there is a three step process you can use that won't cost you a foutune.
Ian, who works alongside head lice treatment brand Hedrin said: “If you find live lice, firstly, don’t worry.
"Head lice are a normal part of life and there is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about."
While Ian said the best known symptom of head lice is itching, he added that only 30 per cent of people actually experience itching when they have lice.
He added: "The only true way of knowing is by conducting regular checks. I’d recommend using a ‘Check, Treat, Complete’ step-by-step process."
Step one: Check
In order to catch the critters before they can jump from head to head, Ian said the first thing to do is check your kid's hair once a week using a plastic detection comb.
He said that these need to have teeth and be no more than 0.3mm apart – this is so it can catch the critters.
These are relatively cheap and you can usually buy them from your local pharmacy.
You can pick them up from high street retailer Superdrug for £1.99, or if you prefer to do your shopping online you can get two combs from Amazon for just £1.89.
Ian added: "If live lice are found, consult a pharmacist for treatment advice.
"Some people may choose to treat the whole family even if head lice are only found on one or more of the children, but this is really not necessary and may cause undue stress."
The head lice symptoms you need to look out for
While Ian said just 30 per cent of people will experience itching from lice – there are other symptoms you need to be aware of.
Key head lice symptoms:
- Sores on your scalp or neck
- Lice eggs at the route
- Bite marks
- Lice on your scalp
Step two: Treat
If you find live lice in the hair then it's important to treat it.
You can get lice treatment from most pharmacies but Ian said he recommends Hedrin All In One shampoo.
This he says, is because it contains isononyl isononanoate, an active ingredient which kills lice in just five minutes.
He added: "Make sure to follow the treatment instructions carefully, you simply apply to dry hair (from root to tip), leave for no more than five minutes, wet hair to make a lather, comb through a section at the time."
There are a range of treatments available and Hedrin costs £13.99 and comes with a comb.
Other products such as Full Marks and Lyclear are available for under £10 and Hedrin offers sprays under the £10 price point.
Step three: Complete
The last step is to make sure that all the lice have been eradicated.
Ian said that this should be done a week after you have applied the treatment.
He said that you should then repeat the treatment for a second time to kill any lice that may have hatched from surviving eggs during that time.
Ian highlighted that recent research has found that lice have become resistant to traditional pesticide treatment.
This works by smothering the lice and stripping them of their waxy coating – this in turn causes them to dehydrate.
Ian added: "These physical modes of action mean there is theoretically no chance for the head lice to build up a resistance.
"Try a treatment containing dimeticone or octanediol. If you’re unsure about treatment options, speak to your pharmacist."
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