For Parents Let's Join Forces.

Christine Brown, nurse consultant and head lice expert answers parents' most commonly asked questions about dealing with head lice.

If I regularly check and treat my child for head lice but other children at school aren't being treated and they continue to spread the lice what can I do?
This is tricky as some people are embarrassed about facing up to head lice or they might be unaware that the problem even exists. Parents rarely ignore head lice and it may just be that the treatment they've used just hasn't worked. Speak to your school to see if they'll put up the 'Once a Week, Take a Peek' posters or let parents know each time lice have been found in a particular class.

Do schools still have 'nit nurses'?
No but it's better for parents to check at home anyway - you can do it more regularly and can check the whole family and not just the children.

My mum always used to boil-wash all our sheets and pillowcases if she found lice. Is this necessary?
Head lice do not live away from heads. There's no fear of lice spreading to clothes, furniture or bedding so excessive cleaning is not needed. Simply check everyone's hair for live lice if they're found on one member of your family and then treat as necessary.

What do I do if my kid still keeps scratching after I've done the applications?
It could be they're not all dead. Some bugs have built up a defense against pesticide treatments. But remember, the itch might keep going for up to 10 days after the lice have been killed as the biting injury might have built up over several weeks or more.

Should my child stay home from school if I find live lice?
If your children are checked for head lice on a weekly basis and treated straight away when live lice are found then they can attend school, child care and all other activities just as usual. But remind them to avoid head-to-head contact with other children until all the lice are gone. If you care for children who are too young to understand this please be aware.


Reading Material For Your Kids

Here are some great books about bugs and about the human body:

  • The Cat In The Hat's Learning Library: Inside Your Outside: All About The Human Body
  • The Cat In The Hat's Learning Library: On Beyond Bugs
  • Insects (Eyewitness Guide), Dorling Kindersley Publishing
Did you know?

Most parents already realise that everyone needs to be checking regularly.
Unfortunately, 1 in 10 parents only check for lice once a year.

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