Mention head lice and most of us instantly develop an itch. You'll find these little critters at every school across Australia – and probably the world – at some point during the year. While head lice and nits, (the eggs of head lice) are certainly annoying and persistent, they're not dangerous.
At a glance
- Head lice and nits only live on human heads.
- They don't care if the hair is long or short, clean or dirty.
- Head lice are an unavoidable fact of life for all school-aged kids.
- The best and cheapest way to remove them is with inexpensive conditioner and a nit comb.
- You will need to re-treat your child several times before all the eggs will be gone.
Nitbusters' myth busters
- Kids with head lice don't always scratch. The only way to rule out infestation is to look carefully through your child's hair.
- Head lice are only found on the human head.
- Head lice and nits live in long, short, curly, straight, clean or dirty hair.
- They are not found on family pets.
- Shaving your child's head is radical and unnecessary!
- Head lice do not live on furniture, hats, bedding, carpet or anywhere else in the environment.
- Head lice don't leap or jump. They crawl from hair to hair, from one head to another.
- Treating anything other than the human head does not get rid of head lice.
- There is no way to prevent your child from getting head lice.
- You may be able to help reduce transmission by tying girls' hair back and braiding it.
- Never use insecticides, methylated spirits or kerosene on your child's head.
- Some essential oils, including tea tree oil, can trigger a reaction in some people. Tea tree oil is a proven antiseptic, but its effectiveness as a head lice treatment has not been demonstrated.
- You don't need to use an expensive commercial product.
- If you do decide to use a commercial treatment on your child's head, read the instructions very carefully.
For strategies to prevent head lice, please click on the link below.