Head lice, also known as nits, are tiny insects that live on the human scalp using blood as their nourishment. They lay eggs in the hair shaft which can often be mistaken as dandruff, however, it cannot be brushed out. The most common symptom of head lice is an itchy head which occurs when the lice bite the scalp.
Head lice is a common childhood complaint as children are often in close contact with each other, allowing the insect to crawl from head to head. However, adults are also vulnerable to head lice.At the request of the principal, the council may conduct head lice checks in schools. If a child is found to have head lice, they will be sent home immediately for treatment. They may return to school once the head lice is gone.
- It is not an issue of hygiene
- Lice cannot fly or jump, they crawl
- Adults can also catch head lice
- Lice prefer clean hair to dirty hair
- Lice do not discriminate between hair type, style, colour or length
- Live lice need a blood meal and are found very close to the scalp usually behind the ears. Only the dead eggs are found away from the scalp (greater than 1cm away)
There are a number of effective treatments available from local pharmacies. See the Yellow Pages for the location of pharmacies in your area.
Head Lice Information Sheet (courtesy of James Cook University)