What to do when your kids have head lice | Health Hub

What to do when your kids have head lice

First things first

Double check that your kids do have head lice before treating. This can be done using the wet comb method.

  1. Wash the hair with ordinary shampoo.
  2. Put lots of conditioner into the hair and comb it through with an ordinary comb.
  3. Then, using the detection comb, slot the teeth of the comb into the hair at the roots and draw the comb down to the ends.
  4. Check the comb for lice every time you do this.
  5. Continue until you have worked through each section of hair and have checked the whole head.
  6. Rinse off the conditioner and repeat the combing while the hair is still wet.


It is important that all members of the family are checked for head lice.




So your child has head lice, what’s next?


Only if you find live lice present should you treat. The following head lice treatments are widely available:


Product Name Active Ingredient How it works
Lyclear Permethrin Insecticide which suffocates and dehydrates the lice and eggs
Hedrin Dimeticone Non-insecticide which suffocates and dehydrates the lice and eggs
Full Marks Isopropyl myristate and Cyclomethicone Non-insecticide which suffocates and dehydrates the lice and eggs

Advice from the Pharmacist

  • Treatments used to kill head lice are flammable and you should avoid using the hair drier or your child sitting near an open fire or candles
  • You do not need to keep your child home from school. It is advised that you let the school know that your child had head lice and to inform the parents of the children your child is in close contact with.
  • Wash the bedding at 60°C.
  • Vacuum the house and car (especially headrests), and then throw the vacuum bag away
  • Continue to wet comb the hair for up to 3 days after treating the hair to ensure the treatment was successful and all lice, eggs, and nits are gone.
  • Lice that are not in contact with the human scalp generally only survive for up to 3 days.
  • Your child may continue to scratch their head for a few weeks after all the lice have been removed. This is caused by secretions from the lice which irritates the scalp.



Rutter, P (2013). Community Pharmacy: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments . UK: Churchhill Livingstone Elsevier. p283-287.

HSE – Head Lice

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