The top 25 questions our clients ask about head lice

When clients come to us to be checked or cleared, they are usually bursting with a lot of questions that need answering. Many have been on the internet trying to make sense of the struggle, but they find it confusing and often it is misleading. When they are at our clinics, they want the experts to verify the facts and equip them going forward. We want to share with you their top 25 questions:

1.    Why don’t the products work?

Head lice treatment products have simply become less effective over the years. Overuse, misuse, over promising and under delivering have all played a part. Anyone who has had to tackle clearing head lice has their own evidence of how this is the case. Many people use a lot of head lice treatment product whilst trying to deal with an infestation and often find themselves using many different brands and types of products trying to find the effectiveness they crave.

2.    Why does my child keep getting lice?

They may not be catching it constantly, instead it could be that you are just not clearing the infestation and it keeps picking itself back up. If you have a 3 to 4-week discovery cycle, then this is probably what is happening. Alternatively, your child’s best friend may have a full on or heavy infestation and their close relationship constantly puts them on the frontline. If that’s the case then make sure your child’s hair is firmly tied back to protect it and speak (gently and supportively) with their mum or dad about how you have found head lice, what a pain they are, and how you can help each other get it sorted.

3.    What can I do to prevent my child catching them again?

preventing head lice

For girls then tie the hair back securely, keeping it from touching other children’s hair. Plaits or braids are best as a ponytail can easily swing about and touch others hair. Use hair grips to keep the fringe, bang or stray hairs firmly out the way. If your son has long hair explore the cool styles footballers use to tie their hair back and see if he will do that. Get into the habit of checking them regularly so if you find anything you catch it early and head off another full-on infestation.

4.    Why are head lice so hard to get rid of?

Head lice and their eggs, the nits are hard to get rid of because they are often hard to see – both are tiny. They also require forensic efficiency and patience to remove. People’s time is under increased pressure, kid’s have more homework, they do more after school activities and both parents often work putting pressure on everyone involved to find the time to sit and diligently go through the hair. In addition, the head lice treatment products just don’t deliver quite what they say they do. All this conspires to make head lice hard to shut down quickly and effectively.

5.    Where do head lice come from?

Head lice have been around since the beginning of human life. They are a parasite that lives off our blood and we have coexisted for ever.

6.    Will nits go away in senior school?

Because people rely too heavily on ineffective head lice treatment products and therefore often fail to shut down an infestation, those infestations can be carried on up through junior school into senior school. Likewise, if a family has different ages across junior and senior school, then younger children can bring it into the family and spread it across the ages. Additionally, those in senior school often have thicker, longer hair that is less likely to be tied back and therefore they aid the spread of head lice amongst their peers.

7.    How does The Hairforce process work?

The Hairforce process does not use any head lice treatment products – no pesticides or dimethicone. They simply use a combination of clever technology to speed the work up, and forensic hand clearing. They extract the head lice first by hoovering them out with a specialist louse hoover. They then dehydrate the eggs, the nits, using university developed, controlled heated air technology. Finally, they forensically nit comb and nit-pick out all the eggs. They work over 2 appointments, 7 days apart. The second appointment is shorter and is necessary because when lice lay their eggs, they lay invisible sacks of liquid which are not visible at the first appointment. The controlled heated air technology has an over 95% effectiveness rate, so at that second appointment they remove any dried-out eggs that come through and are looking for and removing that potential under 5% that might get under the radar. The process is 100% guaranteed to shut the infestation down.

8.    Why does The Hairforce work when the products don’t?

Precisely because The Hairforce does not rely on the products and because they remove not only all the lice but also all the eggs. If eggs go untouched, they will simply develop, hatch, the lice grow up and reproduce.

9.    What would happen if I just left them?

Infestations just don’t die out. If you leave it then the head lice will continue to reproduce, lay more eggs and multiply exponentially. Any infestation that is left will turn into a very severe situation, which is both unhealthy for the child and the family.

10. Should I be checking on a regular basis?

Regular checking is highly recommended because it will mean that you have a high likelihood of finding an infestation at its very early stages, so it is much easier to shut down. A weekly check is a good idea for your peace of mind.

11. What other times should I check?

It is wise to have some flexibility with checking and do it when certain high points occur. After a sleepover is a good idea. After a party, a school trip, after being at camp and after school play practice and performances. Again, if you catch that first louse you will save yourself having to clear an infestation.

12. If it’s not nits then what else could be in my child’s hair?

Not everything that looks suspicious is a head lice infestation. There can be other things in the hair. There are excretions from the hair follicle that need to be ruled out – hair casts are tubular shaped and are wrapped around the hair. These can be easily removed as they slide off with the pads of your fingers. Hair casts are balls of protein and are a creamy colour and move easily with the brush of a finger. Both are natural excretions and are not of any concern. Then there is dandruff, which again is easily dislodged with your finger. Nits, the eggs are firmly glued to the hair and need to be pulled off between your fingernails. Head lice have 6 legs and crawl swiftly.

13. If I find head lice what should I do to clean the house?

You don’t need to go mad. Anyone you are clearing needs to have clean bed sheets straight after you do a clear because head lice can crawl off and sit on the sheets waiting to crawl back on that night. Hoover the floor in their bedroom and the sofa or chair they like to sit on to read or watch tv. They will need fresh towels and whatever they wear in bed that night. Hoover their favourite toy they like to sleep with if they have one. Hoover their coat and hat if they wear one.

14. Should I tell the other parents found head lice?

This is always a good idea. If you share the intel, then everyone will look to check their child. If the others don’t know then they will assume their school is lice free. If you work together as a team, supporting each other then you will solve this problem much, much faster.

15. Should I tell the school I found head lice?

Parents need to work together with the school if the head lice issue is to be brought under control, so it is a very wise idea to inform the school if you have found head lice and/or nits, the eggs. This way the school cannot pretend to be lice free, and they must become engaged in passing that information on to the other parents.

16. Should I send my child to school if I have found head lice?

You need to remove the crawling head lice first before they can go back into school. It is the crawling head lice that pose the most immediate risk of spreading. Do tie the hair back securely so it cannot fly around and touch others. If you find just eggs, then again tie the hair back and tackle the eggs with forensic nit combing when they come back from school that afternoon or evening.

17. Are the red bumps at the back of the neck caused by head lice?

Generally, yes, they are. When head lice feed, they inject their saliva. In the saliva is an anti-coagulant which allows the blood to flow nicely. If you are allergic to the saliva, then you will itch. That can irritate the area and blotches appear. It can also affect the glands at the back of the neck, and they can become irritated, red and raised.

18. I have one child that always gets them, why is that?

Lice feed off human blood, and they particularly like high blood sugar levels in the blood. You may find that the child that always gets head lice is the one that has a sweet tooth, so in turn has particularly high blood sugar levels. Are they drinking too much apple juice? Eating large amounts of fruit? Consuming too many sweets? Reduce it and you will find they probably attract them less.

19. When should I check my child for head lice?

Once you have cleared an infestation try to check them going forward on a regular, weekly basis.

20. Why does my child not itch?

53% of people are asymptomatic and so will not itch. If you aren’t allergic to the saliva the head louse injects when they feed, then you won’t itch.

21. Should I just have her hair cut short to stop head lice?

If hair is super long, then it is going to be harder to protect and harder to nit comb. You do however want hair to be long enough to tie it back and hopefully plait or braid it to protect it further. Too short, and it is impossible to tie back.

22. Should I throw her hairbrush away?

You don’t need to throw any hairbrushes away. Simply stand over the bin and pull out any hairs straight into the bin. Then empty your dishwasher, if you have one, and wash the hairbrushes in that. It will sterilise them. If you don’t have a dishwasher then fill the sink with warm, soapy water and soak the hairbrush in there, running your thumb over the base of the brush to get off any scalp dust that can accumulate there.

23. Boys don’t have much hair, so will they have it?

Don’t let short hair deceive you. Boys not only get head lice too, but they can also have heavy infestations despite having short hair. They still need checking on a regular basis too.

24. I thought I had cleared it – why are you finding more in there?

If you are still finding more then you most likely did not remove all the eggs and they have come through and hatched.

25. There are others in the class that don’t clear their child – what can I do about that?

You will find that most parent, if not all, in a class think that is exactly what they are doing once they know head lice are in the class. The problem is not the parents but their reliance on head lice product treatments because of their rising levels of ineffectiveness. You can help this situation by raising everyone’s awareness of this and by promoting nit combing as the most effective way of checking for and clearing an infestation.

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