Head Lice: What You Need to Know

Recently I was asked along with writer and Mum of seven, Jen Hogan, to provide advice about the best ways to deal with head lice as part of RTÉ Junior’s new series, Rearing to Go

According to the HSE, head lice are small wingless insects that spread from the head of an infected person to another person by head to head contact. They are most commonly found among children, between the ages of 4 and 11, who can come into contact with them during school time or while playing with others.

The most effective way to get rid of head lice is to understand their lifecycle. A nit takes up to 11 days to hatch. Once it matures into an adult, they mate and the female will begin to lay her eggs on a daily basis for approximately a month. A head lice will only naturally die if they don’t come into contact with a fresh blood supply after 2 days.

If you notice your child scratching and itching their head a lot, this could be a good indication that they may have head lice. There are numerous treatment options available for treating head lice but the most common method is that of wet combing.

The Irish Pharmacy Union have provided the following advice on the best steps to take:

  • Check your child’s hair regularly with a wet comb.
  • Make sure to closely check the scalp especially behind the ears, the neck and the top of the head.
  • Only start treatment if live lice are present. Ask a pharmacist for the best course of treatment to take.
  • It’s always important to inform any persons that your child is in regular contact with if you are treating your child for lice especially during school time. Doing so ensures that an outbreak can be prevented.

Read the full article, ‘Headlice: Disgusting Facts You Need to Know’ on RTÉ.