Head Lice: The Facts A heads up on head lice

Head lice are live insects. Their empty eggs are called nits. Lice are wingless insects that hold on to the hair, feeding from the blood in the scalp. They spread through head-to-head contact but contrary to common belief, they do not jump. Adult females live for up to a month and lay around five eggs a day.

Head lice are seen as an established part of school life - as children spend so much time playing and learning together, it is very easy for them to spread.

Lice spread when heads come in contact so sleepovers, after-school activities, playing with friends and visiting family are also common places for children, and adults, to pick them up and pass them on.

7 Key Head Lice Facts:

  • Head lice are common among young children and their families
  • Head lice don't spread disease
  • Head lice can be spread from adults to children and back again
  • There's nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about having head lice
  • Having head lice has nothing to do with good or bad personal hygiene
  • Lice eggs hatch after around 7 days so two applications are always needed to make sure all lice have been killed
  • There are pesticide, non-pesticide, combing and alternative treatments on the market. Your pharmacist will be able to help you work out which is best for you and your family
Nit Knowledge:

1 in 10 people feel parents should be fined if their children keep getting head lice!

Did you know?

On average, a first infection is discovered 2-3 months after it begins. Partly this is because the eggs and little lice are so hard to see. It is only when the empty eggshells (nits) become visible, because they appear white and remain attached to the hairs as they grow, that many people realise the lice are actually there.

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