Head lice are small insects that infest the scalp and feed on blood. Eggs are laid by the adult lice which then hatch between 6-10 days. The lice crawl from head to head once they are matured because they cannot fly, therefore they spread when you come in close contact with an infected person or you share things like hat, brush, comb or scarves with an infected person.


When your scalp is itchy and you can’t stop scratching your head, this could indicate head lice. This often leads to an irritated scalp.


Wet combing: this process involves washing of the hair with shampoo and applying conditioner. Detangle the hair with a wide toothed comb and when your comb can pass freely through the hair, divide your hair into sections and use the detection comb to comb the hair thoroughly from the root to the ends. As you are combing, examine the teeth of the comb for lice. Wipe off any lice found on the comb or rinse it off and continue to comb your hair thoroughly. Wash out the conditioner and repeat the procedure every three days until you have done it 6 times. Repeating the procedure is done to ensure that re-emerging lice that are hatched from new eggs are also eradicated.

Over the counter lotions or sprays can be got from the pharmacy to kill lice on the scalp and they contain silicone and oil based formulations. Make sure you use enough lotion or spray during application to cover your scalp and entire hair. Instructions on how long the spray and lotion needs to be left on the hair will be on the lotion and spray, so make sure you follow the instructions.

After using these methods and you still have head lice, you should see your medical practitioner.


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