A range of products are available to help get rid of head lice.
A range of products are available to help get rid of head lice. Warren Lynam

Products on hand to outwit nits

BUNDABERG parents of school-age children are urged to prepare for the new school year - and all the challenges that brings - including the ever-present threat of head lice.

Pharmacies stock special combs as well as shampoos, conditioners, creams and other products to treat head lice infestation and Pharmacy Guild of Australia national president George Tambassis said there were chemical-based treatments available as well as treatments based on essential oils including anise, rosemary, lavender, and tea tree oil.

"The wide variety of active ingredients available is due to the fact that head lice are very adaptable and can develop resistance to some chemicals,” Mr Tambassis says.

"For this reason it is important to talk to your community pharmacist about which is the right product for you or your child.

"Your pharmacist has the experience and training to make sure you get the best treatment.”

After selecting a treatment it is important that following use of the product you test if the lice are dead. This is because you need to be sure what you are using is working on the lice.

While resistance is an issue, many treatment failures are due to inadequate time in contact with hair and scalp, inappropriate application methods, or the use of ineffective products. Ask your pharmacist to recommend an evidence-based product - that is: one that is proven to be effective - and also to show you how to apply it effectively.

Whatever head lice treatment is chosen, a fine-tooth comb is essential to get the nits out.

If live lice are found in the combings after treatment, it's possible that the head lice are resistant to the particular product, and retreatment should begin as soon as possible with a product from a different active-ingredient group.

If the lice are dead, treat again in seven days using the same product. If the treatment has worked, the lice will be dead within 20 minutes.

It is possible a head lice product could cause a reaction and should be used with care by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, children less than 12 months old and people with allergies, asthma or open wounds on the scalp.

Your pharmacist can advise on how best to treat head lice and which products may work best for you or your children.



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