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Back To School

What to do if your child's hair gets infested with head lice

Sorry to bring it up, but…

IT’S THAT TIME of year again.

Pharmacists have issued their advice to parents on how to deal with head lice infestations, as kids head back to school.

According to the Irish Pharmacy Union, one in ten children in Ireland suffer from head lice at any given time.

“With primary children going back to school next week parents will no doubt be dreading the first note of the new school year letting them know that there is an outbreak of head lice in the school or crèche,” the IPU’s Bernard Duggan said.

“Pharmacists are advising parents to make screening for head lice part of the normal family’s personal hygiene routine like brushing teeth or washing hair.

“Routine screening and early detection is the best and only prevention to an infestation of head lice.”

shutterstock_192146126 Shutterstock / devil79sd Shutterstock / devil79sd / devil79sd

In six simple points, here’s what you need to do…

  • Check children’s hair for lice regularly, ideally once a week. Use a wet comb made for the purpose. Combing through wet hair makes the process easier. Good light is important.
  • Itching and scratching are common signs of head lice. As well as live lice, which crawl around the head, look out for nits which are tiny eggs that may look like dandruff but cannot be flicked off the hair.
  • Check close to the scalp, behind the ears, around the nape of the neck, top of the head and under the fringe.
  • Treat the hair only if live lice or unhatched eggs are present. Treat the child and other family members as soon as possible. Always ask your pharmacist for advice on the most appropriate treatment to use.
  • Inform the school, contacts and friends when your child has head lice. The school can then inform other parents that there is an outbreak, so everyone can check and treat their own children.
  • Always follow the instructions on the treatment pack and any advice given by your pharmacist. Products used to treat head lice do not prevent the infection from occurring and should never be used “just in case”.

“If a child is infested, it is also necessary to check everyone in the family and treat them if necessary. It is important never to use these products if you are pregnant or on infants under six months of age,” Duggan added.

And remember – the pesky little things can’t fly or hop, but are transferred only by head-to-head contact.

Read: 3,700 fish found dead in river after suspected chemical discharge >

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