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Treating head lice in children

Many parents become anxious when head lice make an appearance at their children's kindergarten or school. But here's no need to panic. Head lice may be vexatious, but they pose absolutely no risk to health. Here you can find out how to recognise and treat head lice infestations.

Finding lice in a child's hair doesn't indicate a lack of hygiene; it's just a sign of close social contact with other children. Children often have their heads close together when they're playing, making it easy for lice to move from one child to another. But it's easy to get rid of them if you use the right tactics.


How head lice spread
Lice can neither fly nor swim. They can only be transferred by direct contact between one head of hair and another. Lice need hair, warm damp conditions and an occasional meal of human blood to thrive and reproduce. They lay their eggs ("nits") near the scalp. After about ten days the eggs hatch and new lice are released.


Treating lice effectively
If your child has head lice, you should immediately alert the school and the parents of your child's friends. This should stop them from spreading any further.

The best way to get rid of these pests is to use an anti-louse treatment to kill the adult lice and a nit comb to remove the eggs. It's very important to ensure that the lotion or spray is applied liberally to be sure of killing all the lice. If you don't use enough, some may survive and the infestation will continue. To remove the nits, you should comb the hair carefully, section by section, using a nit comb.
However, it's not necessary to take medication, change bedclothes daily or lock away your child's soft toys, because lice can only survive on the human scalp. To make absolutely sure, you may want to dip hair-slides and brushes in boiling water.
If no living lice are spotted after 14 days, the lice trauma is over.

For more detailed information, visit:


sante24 – a service from SWICA
If you have any additional questions about preventive measures or head lice treatments, or if you have any other health-related concerns, the doctors and other medical staff at sante24 will be happy to help you, free of charge, around the clock. On request, sante24 will also make a doctor’s appointment for you. Tel. 044 404 86 86