20 October 2017
There has been an outbreak of head lice in your child’s classroom and your child may have contracted lice. Please examine your child’s hair for signs of infestation.
What are head lice?
- Lice are small, flat insects about 2mm-3mm long that breed all year round.
- They live on your hair and come down to the scalp to feed and lay eggs. They feed on blood by sicking their tube-like mouths into your scalp several times a day.
- Lice can travel from one head to another when the two come very close together.
- Lice can live underwater, they stay on your head and do not die if you swim or shower.
- Female lice lay about 7 to 10 eggs a day.
What should I do?
Use Conditioner and Head Lice/Nit Comb
The easiest way to find lice is to put lots of conditioner (at least 3 times as much a usual) on dry hair. Conditioner stuns the insects for about 20 minutes and makes them easier to comb out. With the conditioner in, comb all over the scalp, especially around the hairline at the back of the neck, behind the ears and on the crown. Work through one section at a time, from the roots out. Wipe the teeth of the comb on a clean tissue to see what lice are being removed. Keep going until you can’t find any live lice.
Buy an insecticide-based treatment
The next step is a treatment based on an insecticide: either permethrin (or its variants phenothrin or d-phenothrin) or malathion (also called maldison). These treatments come as shampoo’s, lotions or sprays. Use the treatment exactly as stated.
Insecticides should kill the lice very quickly, but they won’t kill the live aggs, which will hatch over the next 7 or so days. Most products suggest at least one repeat treatment up to a week or 10 days later, to get rid of any newly hatched lice. If the infestation is severe, you may need a third application. If there seems to be no significant reduction in the live lice numbers, and you are sure you have followed the instruction properly, don’t use the same treatment again, Try one with a different active ingredient. Repeat the conditioner/combing process, after you have been treated.
Treat everyone together
Treat every infected person in the house at the same time – and if your children plays with others who are infected, get them treated as well.