Head lice are wingless insects that live on the hair close to the scalp. Head lice infection is common and is spread through head to head contact.

Head lice can’t be prevented but regular checking ensures early detection and treatment if necessary. Wet combing is the best detection method with NHS advice recommending that Parents and Carers aim to check their children’s hair once a week during hair washing. This method requires your usual shampoo, an ordinary conditioner and a louse detection comb.

The only way to be sure that your child has head lice is to find a live louse. When a live louse is found treatment is required. Treatments are available on the Minor Ailment Service (if you are eligible) from your pharmacist or free on prescription from your doctor. You can also buy them over the counter at your local pharmacy.

One treatment is two applications of the treatment lotion, seven days apart. Insecticide lotion will kill head lice, but will not kill eggs so it is very important to apply a second application to kill any newly hatched lice. If this is not followed then re-infection is likely.

Please note: Alert letters to parents have been found not to be useful as most schools and nurseries are likely to have a few children with head lice at any one time. Instead parents are advised to carry out regular weekly checks to prevent infection.