FACTS - LICE & NITS
1. What are Head Lice and Nits?
Head Lice are tiny, wingless parasites that live in your hair and feed on the blood. Nits are the cream coloured teardrop shaped eggs that are laid by Lice and glued to the hair near the scalp.
Varying in colour from grey to brown, a single adult sized Lice is between 2-4mm which is roughly the size of a sesame seed and although they cannot jump or fly, they can move extremely fast!
Head Lice live for approximately 30 days and once an insect crawls on to your head they can rapidly multiply and each lay up to 200 eggs per day.
In recent years,'Super Lice' have evolved with resistance to commonly used pesticides that consumers have previously relied upon to treat infestations.
2. How do we get Head Lice?
A common misconception is that having dirty hair encourages Head Lice, however, that is not the case. Head Lice like all types of hair and styles, clean or dirty.
Although everyone is at risk of catching Head Lice, the highest risk is amongst school-children as they play closely together and share items that come into contact with hair.
Family members, carers and workers of a school or day-care also share the risk of infection.
Some of the most common ways to catch Head Lice include:
- Head-to-head contact with another person infected with Head Lice
- Sharing personal items within someone who already has Head Lice, for example, via a comb, brush, hat, headphones etc.
- Through shared contact of upholstered furniture, bedding, towels, toys or clothing
3. How to check for Head Lice
Head Lice and Nits can be diagnosed in the following ways:
- Check the hair close to the scalp for signs of the insects or eggs.
- Detection is easiest with hair conditioner as this will immobilise the lice.
- Section the damp hair and comb with the Nit Free Terminator, from the scalp downwards.
- After each stroke, wipe the comb front and back on a roll of toilet paper to check for live lice and nit eggs.
- Always inspect hair under bright light.
Symptoms include: itchiness of the scalp and experiencing crawling sensations on the head, difficulty sleeping (lice are more active in the dark) and irritability. However, these indicators can take several weeks to present.
Fully grown lice are about the size of a small ant, but newly hatched eggs can be as small as a pin head.
4. Treating Head Lice
There are many types of Head Lice treatment available over the counter or prescribed, but these will only kill the live Lice. They will not remove the nit eggs which will hatch and grow into live Lice and so the Lice life cycle continues. A nit comb is essential to remove the nit eggs and break the life cycle of the Lice.
The Nit Free Terminator is the only nit comb in the world with precisely spaced spiral micro-grooved teeth (patented worldwide) which will shave the lice and nits from the hair and get the whole job done.
- Pyrethrin - a natural chemical compound found in a lot of pesticides, derived from the chrysanthemum flower
- Permethrin (Nix) - a synthetic man-made chemical pesticide
- Benzyl alcohol solution
- Malathion (Ovide) - not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women and is also known to be flammable.
- Lindane - used as a very last resort as it can cause serious side effects from seizures to death!
All of the above have known side effects and will not kill the nit eggs. So, if like us you would prefer not to use any type of chemical or pesticide on your child's head, then the alternative method of using the Nit Free Terminator is much safer and far more effective.
5. How to prevent Head Lice from coming back
Once treated, check through everyone's hair in your household every few days to catch an outbreak as early as possible.
Further reduce the risk by avoiding contact with other infected people and don't share items or clothes with others until the outbreak has been treated.
You can also treat the home by washing associated clothes and bedding and soak any hair brushes, combs or other hair accessories in hot water to be on the safe side.
Regular combing with the Nit Free Terminator is recommended to check that no sneaky lice or nits return.