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About Headlice

Are head lice a common problem?

Yes they are. We don't know exactly how many people in Britain have head lice at any one time, but a survey in Wales suggested the figure could be as high as 10%. Anyone can catch them, but lice are most common amongst children between the ages of 4-11, and especially amongst girls.

Does head lice infection come from dirty hair or a dirty home?

Absolutely not. Head lice don't mind if hair is clean or dirty; and as they cannot live away from the human head, home hygiene has nothing to do with infection.

Do pets spread head lice?

No. Head lice are a purely human parasite and cannot infect cats, dogs or other animals.

How are lice spread?

By close head-to-head contact. Lice will not survive on clothing, hats, headphones, hairbrushes or furniture.

Don't they jump from head to head?

No. Lice don't have the right sort of legs for jumping or wings, so they cannot jump, fly or crawl across clothing; they only move directly from one person's hair to hair on another head. Sometimes when you are combing or brushing the hair, the electrostatic charge can make lice appear to leap away from the head.

Will very short hair discourage lice?

No. Lice will happily live in 1cm of hair; the only advantage of short hair is that detection and treatment can be easier.

How do I know whether anyone has head lice?

By finding a living adult louse - a fine tooth plastic detection comb is best for finding them (see the video clip for tips on checking for lice).

What about nits?

Lice lay their eggs very close to the scalp and glue them to the hair. Nits are empty or dead egg cases and they are easier to spot as the hair grows. They are a good indicator that lice are about, but not proof that someone is currently infected. The only way to remove empty egg cases is to physically pull or comb them off the hair.

What do lice look like?

Young lice are the size of a full stop. Adult lice are the size of a sesame seed and the females live for about a month, laying 4-6 eggs a day.

I've found a live louse, what do I do?

Don't panic! Check everybody in the family with a detector comb and treat the people who have living lice in their hair. Your local pharmacist can advise you on a suitable treatment.

Check out Chemist Direct's extensive range of Hedrin products here.