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Health Facts

General Health


Toddlers & Children




Head Lice

Head Lice are very small parasitic insects that live on human hair close to the scalp. The lice bite the scalp which causes the characteristic scratching that is often the only sign of infestation. Head lice do not jump or fly, but crawl from one head to the other on contact. They are not a sign of poor hygiene and do not live in bed linen due to their parasitic nature.

Signs of Head Lice

  • Itchy Scalp (caused by the saliva of the louse coming in contact with the scalp
  • Head Lice visible in the hair. Adult lice are dark brown and about 2 to 3mm long. Young lice are a lighter brown and 1 to 2 mm long.
  • Eggs (nits) attach to the hair shaft close to the scalp. They are very tiny and hard to see. They are grayish white in colour and about the size of a grain of salt.

If you find Head Lice

  • carefully comb hair conditioner through the dry hair
  • comb the hair again, this time in sections. A metal fine-tooth 'nit' comb is best to use. The hair conditioner will slow the head lice down. This gives you a chance to catch them in the comb. Wipe the comb onto a white paper towel to remove excess conditioner and any trapped lice. Examine the hair close to the scalp, especially behind the ears and at the nape of the neck.
  • Check all household members to see if anyone else has been infected
  • Inform the school or childcare centre, and any other contacts. Under the School Education Act 1999, a principal may exclude a child with head lice from school until treatment has commenced.
  • Treat the infestation - There are several methods of treatment available including hair conditioner, herbal remedies and insect decides
  • Once treatment is completed and all lice and eggs have been removed the hai should be checked weekly for any further outbreaks.


  • check your child's hair regularly
  • long hair should be tied back or put it up in a plait
  • use hair gel or mousse to keep stray hair in place
  • avoid sharing combs or brushes.
  • soak brushes and combs in hot water for 10 minutes to kill lice and eggs
  • remind your child to avoid head-to-head contact with other children

10 Day Hair Conditioner Treatment for Head Lice

Any type of hair conditioner may be used. You will also need a fine tooth comb (metal ones are best).
The hair conditioner will immobilize the lice so that they are easier to catch in the teeth of the comb.
The hair conditioner also makes combing easier

What to do:

  1. Apply copious amounts of hair conditioner to dry hair
  2. Comb through with an ordinary comb or brush to remove tangles.
  3. Work through the hair in sections with the fine toothcomb.
  4. Wipe the comb on a paper towel. You should be able to see the lice but might need a strong light to see clearly. Sunlight is very good so it is good to carry out the treatment in daylight if possible.
  5. Continue combing the hair in sections until the whole head has been examined
  6. Rinse the conditioner out when finished and dry the hair.
  7. Repeat this process for every 1 or 2 days for 10 days This will cover the hatching cycle of the eggs.
  8. With each examination check for lice using the paper towel method mentioned above. If adult lice are found , a new infestation is indicated and the treatment should be commenced again from day 1
  9. Check the hair once a week for at least 4 weeks, for signs of reinfestation.
  10. Check all other household members and treat as necessary using the same method

Other types of treatments are available. These include both natural and chemical treatments.
Some treatments may not be suitable for some people - consult our pharmacy staff if you have any questions.