The Happy Chemist

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Picture credit: Female human head louse. Gilles San Martin [CC BY-SA 2.0 (]


When it comes to getting rid of head lice, the staff at Clive’s Chemist have pretty much heard it all, from parents using animal flea treatments (definitely not recommended), to others wrapping a plastic bag around their child’s head and spraying fly spray inside.

Lice live among human hairs, and draw blood from the skin. They lay eggs on hair shafts close to the skin surface where the temperature is perfect for incubation. Their bites may cause inflammation and itching, and they can become infected.

While head lice are thought to be resistant to some products, others don’t work because families don’t use them properly – not applying enough, failing to cover the whole scalp, or not leaving the treatment on long enough.


What not to do:

  • Do not use shampoo, conditioner or a hair dryer within 24 hours of using a chemical treatment as this can make it less effective or cause it to fail.
  • Do not use chemical products if the person being treated is pregnant.
  • Do not treat unless the child is infected.

Follow treatment instructions precisely, because no product kills all the eggs, which take about seven days to hatch. Re-treatment is necessary after seven to ten days. Combing with a fine tooth comb in conjunction with a treatment shampoo is more effective than combing or treating alone.


Tips for avoiding the spread of head lice:

  • Don’t share combs, brushes, hats, scarves, ribbons or other personal items.
  • Avoid direct physical contact with a person who has lice.
  • Examine children’s hair at least weekly.
  • Alert the school and if necessary, keep the child home from school until the morning after treatment for lice.
  • Use a tea tree oil shampoo conditioner or spray regularly.

There are treatments available on prescription at a very low cost, or Clive’s Chemist stock a full range from natural preparations to insecticides. Come in and talk to us.