Pharmacists’ advice on Treating Head Lice



Check out our very own Tomas Conefrey
on RTE news2day educating school children
about head lice. Watch video clip here.



Treating Head Lice

  • Pharmacists warn Parents not to expose children to treatments as a precautionary measure to prevent the outbreak of head lice.
  • Children with Allergies and Asthma more vulnerable to reaction to head lice treatments.
  • One in 10 children suffer from head lice at any one time.

Pharmacists are warning parents never to expose children to head lice treatments as a precautionary measure to prevent the outbreak of head lice. “This approach doesn’t work, has no benefits and exposes children to pesticides unnecessarily,” says Bernard Duggan, Pharmacist and Honorary Treasurer of the IPU. With the exception of the common cold, head lice affect more school-aged children than all other communicable diseases combined. It is estimated that one in 10 children suffer from head lice at any one time. 80% of head lice infestations occur in children between the ages of four and 16.

“We are reminding parents that routine screening and early detection is the best and only prevention to an infestation of head lice. While it is understandable that parents want to try and prevent an outbreak, using treatment products as a precautionary measure does not work. We are reminding parents that treatments should only be used if there are nits or lice present in a child’s hair”,  Mr Duggan said.

It is also important to seek advice from your local pharmacist on the product that best suits your child or family. “Children of all ages are vulnerable to pesticides, especially those who suffer from asthma, allergies or have a pre-existing skin condition. It is always best to seek advice from a pharmacist on the best treatment to use. It is important also never to use these products if you are pregnant or on infants under six months of age.”

 Head Lice – Advice from Pharmacists

  • Check children’s hair for lice regularly. Wet comb the hair every week and tie up long hair in a ponytail to avoid hair coming into contact with other hair that might be infested.
  • 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 can’t be flicked off the hair.
  • Check around the nape of the neck and ears as well as the head.
  • 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 product to use.
  • Inform the school, contacts and friends when your child has nits. 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 as a preventative measure.