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Getting ahead with head lice
For all those joyful hours that the children play together and the memories they share, unfortunately the close contact and endless selfies, brings an increased risk of head lice infestation – so parents, be prepared! Luckily, with the help of Ian Burgess, head lice expert, we have put together a brief guide to getting ahead of head lice.
If in doubt, check it out
Head lice expert Ian Burgess, explains, “Head lice can appear at any place and any time, so there is no need to avoid certain situations, but just be vigilant and ensure that you check your child’s hair regularly. Some parents wait until their child starts to scratch, however, not all infestations cause an itching sensation.
Firstly, to diagnose a case of head lice, you need to find them alive. Lice range in size from a full stop to a sesame seed and they remain close to the scalp, however, you will need to check all over from the back of the head to behind the ears and under the fringe.”
How to check – remember the three C’s
- Comb Use a fine toothcomb, with teeth no more than 0.3mm apart to ensure that you can trap them and ideally use a white comb so they are more visible.
- Conditioner To ensure the process is as hassle-free as possible, try combing the hair when it is wet and use a conditioner as a lubricant. This will allow the comb to glide through easily without causing any fuss.
- Comfort As the process should be part of your weekly routine, make sure they are comfortable and distract your child with their favourite TV programme, this will ensure you can check for lice quickly and thoroughly.
Treat and defeat
Ian continues, “If you find lice, don’t panic, head lice are a normal part of life. You should use a non-pesticide treatment that smothers the lice instead of poisoning them. Research suggests that lice have become resistant to traditional pesticide treatments so they are less effective although most people do use a non-pesticide product these days. “Home” remedies are sometimes used by parents, such as dosing the hair in vinegar, mayonnaise and olive oil, however, none of which are clinically proven to eradicate lice. If you are unsure about what treatment to use, speak to your pharmacist.”
How to ensure the treatment is effective
- Remember, only treat if you find live lice. Your pharmacist can advise on protection options if this is what you are looking for.
- It is very important to follow the instructions on the pack and cover the full length of hair until it is saturated for the recommended time.
- Whilst ensuring the product is used thoroughly, it is important to keep it away from your child’s eyes, face and shoulders and ensure you keep the lotion away from heat sources such as hair dryers, naked flames and cigarettes.
Detect and Protect
Once you have completed the course of the treatment, you should check thoroughly to see if there are any live lice left – remember, you need to see them moving. If you do find lice, this could be a result of a failed treatment or a re-infestation. At this point, you will need to treat again and ensure that you follow the instructions carefully.
“It is likely that some of the empty eggs are left behind, as they have a strong bond with the hair and are difficult to remove, these are called nits. Previously the removal process was done by hand or using a comb on dry hair, but ultimately this may cause hair breakage. There are now products available that help loosen the bond between the nits and the hair, to allow them to slide off easily when using a suitable comb. When you are confident that you have got rid of the infestation and the remaining nits, it may be worth considering a protection product as other children are likely to still be carrying lice in their class. Ask your pharmacist for more information.”
The Hedrin Range:
Hedrin Once spray gel (60ml £7.49, 100ml £11.99), available from Boots
If you find live lice, Hedrin Once is clinically proven to kill lice and eggs with just one 15 minute treatment. A thicker gel formulation which contains Penetrol® to aid penetration into the louse egg, Hedrin Once has been awarded the esteemed ‘Stamp of Approval’ from Mumsnet after 250 parents gave it the all-round thumbs up. Hedrin Once was also recently put to the test on the ITV show ‘Save Money: Good Health’ where the product was compared with other head lice brands and was judged to be ‘most effective’ and ‘best value’ treatment by an independent expert.
Hedrin Stubborn Egg Loosening Lotion (RRP £4.99) and as a kit (RRP £7.29) from pharmacies including Boots.
When a female louse lays her eggs, she glues them to the hair shafts making them hard to remove, even after the lice have hatched. Having nits (the dead, empty eggs) visible, once treatment is complete, can be distressing for the child and can affect their confidence. The latest addition to the Hedrin product family makes it significantly easier to remove nits from the hair after treatment. The lotion is available on its own or as part of a kit, which includes a fine-toothed comb.
The unique gel base in Hedrin Stubborn Egg Loosening Lotion carries lubricant oil that releases the chemical bond between the egg and the hair, allowing the egg to slide off easily. Research has shown that it is 10 times more effective than combing alone, both from dry hair and when compared to hair treated with a conditioning shampoo.
Hedrin Protect & Go (120ml £4.29, 200ml £6.29, 250ml £7.29), available from Boots
Hedrin Protect & Go is a fuss-free spray which, when applied twice-a-week, protects children from the parasites by breaking their life cycle and killing lice before an infestation can become established.
The protection spray contains an organic compound called 1,2 octanediol (Activdiol) which disrupts the life cycle of head lice preventing their spread. It is easy to apply and dries naturally leaving the hair looking healthy and conditioned.
Hedrin Head lice Detection Comb is available for £3.49 from pharmacies.
The easy, effective way to spot head lice and nits. The comb is made from tough Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene and the teeth are precision engineered to trap the lice and prevent bending in use. Plus, it’s clinically tested to ensure comfort and accuracy.
Our Opinion on Hedrin
Headlice and nit eggs are a nightmare in our house. With four daughters, all with long hair, all in school and all close to their friends and each other, it seems like a never-ending battle. We were sent a bottle of Hedrin Once spray and Hedrin Protect & Go to try. We haven’t used the Hedrin Once yet, we haven’t needed to as there aren’t any signs of any headlice in their hair at the moment. This is probably a good sign that the Protect & Go is working, as I have sprayed their hair! The only downside is that the bottles can be quite expensive, especially when you have several children to treat, but then that is true of all the headlice treatment out there! I do like the Protect & Go as it does seem to be helping and the less I have to use the nit comb the happier my daughters are!
As headlice is the bane of many schools around the country, Hedrin has very kindly offered to send a pack of Hedrin Once to two followers of my blog. To enter click on the details below and good luck!