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Head Lice / Scabies | Simple Online Pharmacy


What are head lice?

Head lice are tiny grey/black insects which live in the hair. Nits as they are commonly known are yellow/white eggs cases which the lice hatch from. These attach to the hair. The lice feed from the blood in the scalp and lay eggs. These eggs then hatch and grown into adult lice within around 7-10 days.

Who gets head lice?

Head lice are most common in children, however anyone can catch them. It makes no difference whether the hair is clean or dirty. Head lice are usually spread by head to head contact with someone who is infected. The lice cannot jump or fly, they can simply walk from one persons head to another if in close enough contact. They can occasionally be spread by sharing a hairbrush or hair accessories with a person who is infected, but they cannot survive for any length of time away from the scalp.

Can head lice be prevented?

The only way that head lice can be prevented is by avoiding head to head contact with an infected person. It is almost impossible to completely avoid getting them. It is advised that people with long hair that may be exposed to infected people, should keep their hair tied back. This will make it more difficult for the lice to move from one person’s hair to another. This is important, for example, in children. It is also important to perform “wet combing”see below), once weekly on a person who may be exposed to head lice, for example, school children or adults who work closely with children.

What is detection combing?

Detection combing is a method of combing the hair to check for lice. If this is done regularly, head lice can be found early and treatment can be commenced straight away.

Detection combs are special fine-toothed plastic combs that you can buy from your local pharmacy or online via our website. A comb with flat-faced teeth and a tooth spacing of 0.2-0.3mm is best.

Wet hair method

  • Wash the hair with your normal shampoo.

  • Rinse out the shampoo and put on lots of your normal conditioner.

  • Comb the hair with a normal comb to get rid of tangles.

  • When the hair is untangled, switch to a detection comb.

  • Slot the teeth of the detection comb into the hair at the roots so it is touching the scalp.

  • Draw the detection comb through to the tips of the hair.

  • Make sure that all parts of the hair are combed by working around the head.

  • Check the comb for lice after each stroke. A magnifying glass may help.

  • If you see any lice, clean the comb by wiping it on a tissue or rinse it before the next stroke.

  • After the whole head has been combed, rinse out the conditioner.

  • Repeat the combing procedure in the wet hair to check for any lice that might have been missed the first time.


Dry Hair method

Use an ordinary, wide-toothed comb to straighten and untangle the hair

  • Once the comb moves freely through the hair without dragging, switch to the louse detection comb

  • Make sure the teeth of the comb slot into the hair at the roots, with the edge of the teeth lightly touching the scalp

  • Draw the comb down from the crown to the ends of the hair with every stroke

  • Look for lice as the comb is drawn through the hair. If you see a louse, trap it against the face of the comb with your thumb to stop if being repelled by static electricity

  • Comb each section of hair 3 or 4 times before moving on to the next section, until the whole head has been combed through


How do you treat Head Lice? 

There are 2 main ways to treat head lice

  • Lotions and sprays designed to kill the lice and eggs
  • Wet combing 


For Lotions and Sprays

It is important that all family members who have found lice in their hair are treated on the same day. You should however only treat those who have found lice in their hair.

  • Treatment should be applied to all areas of the scalp and to all of the hairs, from their roots to their tips.
  • The product should be left on for the time recommended by the manufacturer, then washed off. This varies from 15 minutes (for example with Hedrin® Once Spray Gel and Vamousse®) to at least 8 hours (for example with Hedrin®Lotion and NYDA®). A contact time of 8–12 hours (or overnight) is recommended for lotions and liquids.
  • It is generally recommended that insecticides are applied twice, at least 7 days apart, in order to treat any lice hatching from eggs before they lay more eggs themselves. Some experts suggest that 2 applications may be insufficient and that 3 applications may be required to achieve a complete cure.
  • Inappropriate use can lead to treatment failure and may increase the risk of resistant lice.
  • The hair should be kept away from naked flames, cigarettes, and other sources of ignition during treatment with dimeticone-containing products (though not flammable, dimeticone is not water based and will not prevent hair from burning). Care should be taken if the product is spilt as it may cause a slip hazard.


Wet combing

  • The recommended regimen is four sessions spaced over 2 weeks (on days 1, 5, 9, and 13).
  • It takes about 10 minutes to complete the process on short hair, and 20–30 minutes for long, frizzy, or curly hair. Two combing procedures are recommended at each treatment session
  • Detailed information on wet combing is provided in the Bug Buster® kit and is also available on the Community Hygiene Concern website ( 


What are the symptoms of head lice?

Head lice can make the scalp feel itchy or like there is something moving in the head. The itching is a result of the lice biting the scalp and the reaction can cause an itch. They generally don’t cause any other problems. Occasionally they cause a rash on the scalp which may become infected, but this is very rare.

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