Head Lice Information



The first thing to say about head lice is DON’T PANIC! Head lice are extremely common in young children as they pass very easily from head to head on close contact. It is not a sign of dirty hair or bad hygiene, in fact they appear to prefer clean hair. Head lice cannot jump or fly, they can only walk and are usually caught by younger children who play and work very close together.


Minimising the risks

Tie back hair so that it does not come into contact with other hair. You could try:


Bunches/pony tails - secured along their length with several bobbles/bands


Slides/clips (for stray sections of hair)

Hairbands (good for shorter hair)

Do NOT share/swap brushes, combs, scarves or hats, including dressing up hats.

Lice can't easily hold onto slippery hair, so apply a hair glossing serum, oil or spray.

Lice don't like essential oils especially tea tree (also suitable for boys) and lavender, so use products containing repellent oils.

Brush hair thoroughly twice daily to disturb lice and spread glossing products and essential oils. Make a cheap repellent glosser by adding tea tree or lavender oil to a small amount of olive oil.

Comb at least once a week using a fine tooth nit comb (available from school office for 50p)

Make a repellent spray by adding a few drops of tea tree or lavender oil to water and brush through hair each day.


Discovering head lice

About half of the children affected will notice itching of their scalps which draws attention to the problem. The lice themselves are small, about the length of a match head, and may be difficult to see, as their colour is often close to the hair colour.

Newly laid eggs are usually close to the scalp (about 1.5cm or about 0.5in) and, as the hair grows, this and subsequently the empty sac, once it is hatched, will move further from the scalp.

When the egg is still in the sac it is small and rather dull in colour, and difficult to see. Once the egg has hatched, (7-10 days) the sac is white, and easier to see.



A female head louse lays eggs by cementing them to hairs (often close to the root) where they will be kept warm by the scalp. The eggs are pinhead size and difficult to see.

When the baby lice hatch 7 to 10 days later, the empty eggshells (nits) remain glued in place. Nits glisten white and become more noticeable as the growth of the hair carries them away from the scalp.

 Head lice feed by biting the scalp and sucking blood through it. They take 6 to 10 days to become fully grown. Once mature, a head louse can transfer from head to head.

 After mating, a female may start to lay eggs as early as the seventh day after she has hatched. So to break the life cycle and stop head lice spreading, they need to be removed from the head before the sixth day after hatching.

 Although head lice live on scalps, they can survive for 1 - 2 days off the head, so it may be advisable to wash your child’s bedding if you discover adult lice.



There are numerous chemical and herbal lotions available, but there it is thought that lice become immune to them, making it an expensive and not necessarily effective way to treat them. Some parents also worry about the effects these lotions may have on children. Please speak to your local chemist about the different lotions available, especially if your child has sensitive skin or suffers from any allergies.

The other method, which is completely safe and chemical free, but quite time consuming and requires diligence, is wet combing:

Wash the hair as normal.

Apply conditioner liberally, including the full length of long hair.

Lay out white tissues over which you will comb the hair.

Comb the hair through with a normal comb first, to get rid of any knots.

With a fine tooth comb ("nit comb"), starting from the roots of the hairs, comb out along the complete length of the hair. After each stroke check the comb for lice and wipe it clean. Work systematically around the whole head of hair. Continue for at least 30 minutes.

Rinse the hair as normal.

Repeat every two to four days for at least two weeks.


Don’t forget to check all the family!

Do not use lotions on under 5’s or pregnant ladies without checking with doctor or chemist.






Dunston Primary and Nursery Academy
Dunston Lane, Newbold,Chesterfield, S41 8EY
Tel - 01246 450601



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