Lose that lousy feeling!


Going back to school or nursery can fill many parents with dread because of the risk of children getting head lice for the umpteenth time.

‘Between 10 and 20 per cent of UK children have head lice at any one time,’ says pharmacist Daniel Brash. ‘Head lice are really common and nothing to feel embarrassed about. They are no reflection on your child’s cleanliness. Lice aren’t choosy: as long as there’s hair they’ll want to live there!’

Problems arise when some members of a school class are treated while others are not, leading to a continual cycle of head lice, says Daniel. To make matters worse, research suggests that most head lice may be resistant to the main ingredients of insecticidal OTC treatments. And there is also an issue with incorrect application of treatment shampoos or lotions: when not enough is applied, it’s not left on the head long enough, or coverage is patchy.

It's essential to detect head lice early. Here are Daniel’s top tips on how parents can act:

* Check your child's hair regularly: spotting head lice early means you can treat them more effectively.

*Treat as soon as you see any live lice, if possible before they get the opportunity to lay eggs.

* If you detect lice, advise the school and friends so they can check if other children need treatment.

* Insecticides are generally not recommended nowadays, since they encourage resistance.

* Non-pesticide lotions and shampoos such as Hedrin, Lyclear lotion or Full Marks Solution are thought to be effective in 80-90 per cent of cases.

*Physical removal with combs, such as the wet-combing technique alongside conditioner, works well.

* Battery operated combs work well too. As they are combed through the hair, the comb passes a small current through the metal teeth which electrocutes the head lice painlessly.

The electric Licetec V-Comb (£49.98) acts as a comb and vacuum to remove both lice and eggs into a capture filter which is illuminated so you can see the results. The filter is then replaced hygienically, and the comb is ready for the next outbreak. Free from chemicals or allergens, it can comfortably be used daily.

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