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Help, my child has head lice!

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Are you scratching your head over how to treat head lice? Read on to find out how you can prevent and treat it.

Head lice are a common problem and, although the thought of them may repulse you and make you shiver in horror, the good news is they are pretty harmless creatures.

What are head lice?

Okay, it’s not pretty ­– head lice feed off tiny amounts of blood sucked from the scalp, and this in itself is enough to send you running! However, in the vast majority of cases, they do not make you ill and the only side effect is an itchy head – which is also the main indicator your child has head lice.

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These tiny insects are flat creatures with no wings, which means they cannot fly or jump. They are brown or black in colour, but can often be confused with dandruff, as the eggs they lay (called nits) are white and tiny – the size of a sesame seed – and stick to the scalp.

How did my child get lice?

These dreaded insects are highly contagious and can be caught when a child has close head-to-head contact with someone who has lice. This is why head lice are such a common occurrence in schools, as kids play closely together and work side by side.

How do I get rid of them?

Head lice are quite tough, and can’t be killed off when washing with a normal shampoo. There are, however, several over-the-counter remedies available. One of our favourites is Hedrin, because it doesn’t use pesticides, doesn’t have a nasty smell when applied and can be used again and again whenever head lice are found with no risk of resistance developing.

Wet-combing your child’s hair is another option, although takes a longer timeframe to clear the lice. This involves using a very fine-tooth comb, or specialist nit comb, on your child’s wet, conditioned hair every 2-3 days for two weeks after the last of the head lice has been seen.

Hedrin offers two treatment options: Hedrin ONCE only requires one application and is clinically proven to kill head lice and eggs in one 15 minute treatment, and Hedrin Treat & Go is a fuss free, water based solution that’s great for children that just want to get out and play. Requiring two applications, Hedrin Treat & Go rinses out of hair easily, without any greasy residue and when dry, remains on the child’s hair while they play, go to school or sleep.

Can I prevent head lice?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive way to keep head lice at bay. However, there are a number of ways you can try to reduce the risk:

  1. Try using hair products containing tea tree or eucalyptus oils, as the scent acts as a deterrent to head lice. These are readily available from your pharmacy.
  2. Regularly checking your child’s hair, although not a fun task, is a sure-fire way to catch any instances of head lice as early as possible. Build it in to the bath-time process and it will soon become second nature.
  3. Teach your child not to use anyone else’s (or share their own) head/hair items, such as hairbrushes, combs, hats, etc.
  4. Hedrin Protect and Go is a revolutionary new product that promises protection from head lice that is simple and easy to use.  You simply apply after every hair wash (or at least twice a week).  It is gentle with a mild detangling formula protects and conditions along with a fruity, orange and mango fragrance that leaves hair smelling fresh.  Hedrin is fast with a simple spray on and leave in action whilst clinically proven to give protection when the threat of head lice appears and is designed for regular long term use.

What about the rest of the family?

There is always a chance that other members of the family can catch lice too. If your child comes home with head lice, it’s a good idea for the whole family to use the hair treatment just in case the lice have spread.

Additional measures to take include:

  • Wash all bed linen, towels and clothes worn in the previous 72 hours in a very hot wash. Some recommendations also suggest running these items through the dryer for 20-30 minutes to ensure they are free of lice.
  • Any cuddly toys that may have been in your child’s bed should also be cleaned. If they can’t be washed, even on a hand wash cycle, then pop them into a sealed, airtight bag for a week.
  • Vacuum all carpets, rugs and upholstered furniture.
  • Soak hairbrushes, combs, hair clips, etc in a medicated head lice shampoo for an hour, then rinse.

Always read the label. Available in pharmacies nationwide

This article is sponsored by Hedrin 

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