Why don’t they wash out or die when I swim or shampoo my hair?
Do I need to tell the school and my friends about the head lice?
Do I need to sterilize combs, brushes etc?
Do I have them? How can I tell?
Should I treat the whole family?
Can the dog or cat catch or transmit them?
I’ve used 3 treatments from the chemist but still have lice WHY?
Why don’t the chemical treatments work very well?
Can you have nits without live head lice?
Where are we most commonly exposed to head lice?
How do people catch head lice?
I have found lice on one of my children, should I treat the whole family?
Are children with long hair more prone to infestation?
How common are head lice?
Who is at risk?
Do head lice prefer clean or dirty hair?
What are the symptoms of head lice?
How do I know if my child has head lice?
What do head lice look like?
What are nits and what do they look like?
Where will I find them?
Can head lice live on any other part of the body?
What should I do if I find head lice?
How will I know when they are gone?
Do head lice cause health problems?
Can head Lice be prevented?
Is kids skin different to adults?
Can I use my shampoo on my child’s hair?
Why are your shampoos and conditioners different?
Are eco.kid Prevent and Prevent Sensitive head lice shampoos?
How do eco.kid products help care for the environment?
Q1: Can you kill head lice with GHD's?
A: Flat Irons run at anything from 140 to 220 degrees C. This will fry any insect for sure, however as the lice eggs are laid very close to the scalp you would also fry the persons skin trying to get them. If an egg were to be far enough away from the scalp to be fried by the flat irons, it would have already have hatched its young and so you would be frying an empty shell.
As for the lice themselves, they will generally move away from any sectioning or combing movement. As the hair is lifted they will move to the scalp. As they can move at about 20cm per minute, this is ample speed to keep ahead of the combing and sectioning process so you would be lucky to catch many in this manner. With lots of frantic hair combing Lice will tend to go to the scalp so again the old, sick or dying lice may still be the only ones you would fry. Back to top of page....
Q2: Do I need to Spring clean the house and wash the bed linen, hats etc?
A: No, not really. Head lice die if they leave the head. The only way they can get food and water is by sucking blood from the scalp. A head louse not on the head is a head lice in a desperate situation! A small number of lice do move down to the pillow slips at night, so change the pillow slip when you are treating your child, and heat it up (hot iron, wash or hot tumble dry) to kill any lice that may have made their way here. Remember, focus your main efforts on the child’s head NOT the environment. The head is where the action is!! Head lice can’t survive off their human host for more than 24-48 hours. Back to top of page....
Q3: Why don’t they wash out or die when I swim or shampoo my hair?
A: Head lice cannot be washed away or drowned with water alone. Head lice breathe through 7 paired spiracles, 1 on the thorax and 6 on the abdomen. The location of these spiracles contributes to the ability of head lice to survive under water for up to two hours. Air trapped against the louse’s body serves as an air reserve when the insect is submerged and this trapped air is breathed through the spiracles. Built to hold on, not to jump! Head lice swing from head to head like an expert trapeze artist. They can hold on through repeated hair washings and combings. Each leg has a claw at the end.
The claws are highly specialized for grasping hair shafts. The hair shaft fits into the bottom of the U-shaped space on their claw. Other spines higher up the leg help trap the hair in place to stop the hair moving out of the notch when the claw is closed. Back to top of page....
Q4: Do I need to tell the school and my friends about the head lice?
A: Absolutely! This is one time when it is OK to “tell the teacher” The only way we can help reduce the stigma attached to having head lice is to be honest and let people know. By encouraging other parents to check their children and treat them, you are helping to prevent the outbreak from spreading. Back to top of page....
Q5: Do I need to sterilize combs, brushes etc?
A: It’s a good idea to clean brushes and combs in boiling water (this will kill head lice) Don’t share hair brushes! Everyone in the family should have their own. Don’t ever share them with your friends either, not even your “Bestie”! You wouldn’t share your toothbrush would you? It’s no different really! Back to top of page....
Q6: Do I have them? How can I tell?
A: While it is certainly more difficult to identify lice on your own head, it can be done. Look for nits around your ears and part your hair and look closely at your scalp, especially around your hairline. You may even be able to spot a live bug if you look carefully.
If you don’t find anything but are still unsure then this is the time to enlist your partner or phone a friend. Make sure you are in good light, sunlight, bright reading light etc. I find a magnifying glass helpful too. Get them to look carefully, section, by section checking for any eggs (nits) attached to the hair shaft. Nits are oval in shape and about the size of a strawberry seed. They can be found in various shades from brown to greyish-white. Viable nits are generally laid close to the scalp (within 5-7mm) but can be found anywhere on the hair shaft. If they are found further along the hair shaft and have a milky white/opaque appearance they are most likely already hatched and of no consequence. If they can be blown or flicked off the hair they are not eggs but more likely dandruff or dry skin. If you are still unsure about whether or not you have head lice, you can always contact The Lice Fairy for a head check or advice.
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Q7: Should I treat the whole family?
A: Only if you have established they actually have live lice present. Follow the “comb and conditioner” method to find out. *see Free Lice Advice.
Over use of chemical treatments has been found to contribute to head lice developing a resistance to them, a bit like the over prescribing of antibiotics.
Also using chemical based treatments without the presence of live lice is unnecessarily exposing your children to harsh pesticides, not to mention a waste of your time and money. Use your common sense when selecting a head lice treatment. There is nothing natural about pouring strong chemicals on a persons head! Back to top of page....
Q8: Can the dog or cat catch or transmit them?
A: No. Head lice are human parasites and require human blood to survive this means that humans are the only host on which lice can survive. They feed on human blood 3-4 times daily. Head lice cannot live on animals, pets, or in the bedding! Back to top of page....
Q9: I’ve used 3 treatments from the chemist but still have lice WHY?
A: Head lice are resistant to most preparations found on the market that are designed to kill them.
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Q10: Why don’t the chemical treatments work very well?
A: It takes just 3-5 years for bugs to become immune to pesticides. Most farmers will tell you that they have to use stronger and harsher pesticides to kill bugs. The problem with head lice is that they live on people so you cannot make the pesticides stronger without harming the people. That is why more and more families are turning to natural remedies like eco.kid, they are not just more effective but safer for the health of our children. Check out my eco.kid organic, eco-friendly range on the product page. Back to top of page....
Q11: Can you have nits without live head lice?
A: Yes, sometimes it is possible that your child has nits left over from a head lice that has already died, or has moved on to another head. However, if you have nits, you have to have had adult lice at some point. It is very easy to miss them, even with combing. I would suggest you follow the “comb and conditioner method” (see free lice advice) to establish what you are dealing with and then treat accordingly. Back to top of page....
Q12: Where are we most commonly exposed to head lice?
A: Head lice are spread through hair to hair or head to head contact, so they can be contracted anywhere that close interactions occur. Schools are often blamed for being breeding grounds for lice, but children are just as likely to come in contact with lice outside of school. Head lice don’t just live at school and they don’t stay there when the children go home at the end of the day or on school holidays! They come home and make themselves part of the family. They like to go to school camp, dance class, sleepovers, sports activities, daycares, and to the grandparents, etc., etc. Back to top of page....
Q13: How do people catch head lice?
A: Lice are transmitted by hair to hair or head to head contact. Remember, head lice do not hop, jump, swim or fly, they “trapeze” like Tarzan from one hair to another. Then they move to the scalp to feed. Children aged 3-12 are more susceptible to head lice because of their close contact during play and interaction. Back to top of page....
Q14: I have found lice on one of my children, should I treat the whole family?
A: Not necessarily. The Lice Fairy recommends head checks for the entire family but only treat the ones where there is evidence of live lice activity. To assist with the control or the spread of head lice, it is also important to inform anyone who has been in close contact with the infested person during the previous two weeks including the teacher, classmates, teammates, and friends. Back to top of page....
Q15: Are children with long hair more prone to infestation?
A: The short answer here is ‘no’. Since head lice concentrate themselves as close to the scalp as possible, having long hair does not provide a better environment for them in which to live. That being said, long hair is more likely to hang over, come loose and come in contact with an infested friend’s head. For that reason alone, long hair may be more prone to getting head lice. It is recommended that long hair be tied back in a braid, bun, or plaited ponytail, especially when there is a known outbreak of head lice. The Lice Fairy also has preventative hair care products available for purchase to help repel head lice and make your family’s heads unattractive to lice.
* See the eco.kid range on our product page. Back to top of page....
Q16: How common are head lice?
A: VERY! If you ask the average kid if head lice are prevalent in their school they will give you a resounding “yes”!
To give you an indication of just how prevalent they are, a study was undertaken in an Australian primary school by the James Cook University (Qld), where it was found that:
o The average percentage of kids with evidence of infestation was 33.7%
o 47.7% had been infested in the previous 6 months prior to examination
o 14% of parents or guardians had not noticed the infestation in their kid’s hair
o Clustering by class indicated the classroom as a main source of infestation
o Head lice are resistant to most preparations on the market which are designed to kill them
The study’s conclusion was that, in an urban primary school in Australia,
head lice infestation is present at a hyper-endemic level!
Head lice are a very common condition, especially among children aged 3-12. It is estimated that as many as 100 million people worldwide get head lice each year. In Australia, at any one time about 34% of school age children have head lice. Back to top of page....
Q17: Who is at risk?
A: Kids are not the only ones who get head lice. Head lice can be caught by anyone. While preschool and primary-school-aged children, and their families are infested most often, anyone who comes in close contact with someone who has head lice is at risk.
Girls get head lice more often than boys and women more than men due to the length of hair and type of play. Children aged between 3 and12 years are more susceptible but old peoples homes have also been found to have problems because after the grand children have been for a visit and have had a cuddle with granny or granddad they can often leave unwanted little visitors behind which can easily go un-detected until a major infestation is in full swing.
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Q18: Do head lice prefer clean or dirty hair?
A: Personal hygiene and cleanliness in the home or at school have nothing to do with getting head lice. Head lice are virtually blind and don’t distinguish between clean and dirty hair. Clean hair tends to have more fly aways though and we know that they are useful for lice to use when transferring from person to person. Back to top of page....
Q19: What are the symptoms of head lice?
A: Some of the most common symptoms of head lice include—itching, scratching, irritability and rashes on the back of the neck or around the ears. Remember that anyone can get head lice so don’t forget to look for symptoms on the rest of the family too!
If you notice your child gets cranky or is itching more frequently than normal, you should check for head lice and nits.
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Q20: How do I know if my child has head lice?
A: Upon inspection of your child’s head, look for nits behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. They will be located within 5mm from the scalp. Unlike dandruff or residue from hair products, nits cannot be brushed or flicked off and are even difficult to manually pull out of the hair. You can also look for live nymph and adult lice that will be in the hair close to the scalp. They are tricky to find as they usually blend in with the hair color. If you are still unsure whether or not your child has lice, you can always contact The Lice Fairy for advice or a head check. Back to top of page....
Q21: What do head lice look like?
A: Head lice vary in size depending on age but are roughly about the size of a sesame seed. They are reddish-brown, wingless insects. Back to top of page....
Q22: What are nits and what do they look like?
A: Nits are the eggs laid by adult head lice. Nits are small, and oval in shape and are about the size of a strawberry seed. They are glued at an angle to the side of the hair shaft. They range from brown to whitish grey in colour. They are not easily removed and cannot be flicked or blown off. Back to top of page....
Q23: Where will I find them?
A: Because head lice like to be as safe and warm as possible, they choose where the hair is thickest, behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. They are quite flat and stay close to the scalp to feed and they also like to lay their eggs as close to the scalp as possible, usually within 5-7mm. The reason being, eggs need warmth to hatch. The most common places you will find them are in the nape and around the back of the ears but in my experience the top of the head, at the front is often a good place to look too.
Don’t assume that if you can’t see any evidence around the nape and the ears they don’t have them. Look further. Sunlight or a well lit room is best. A magnifying glass is also worth getting as it makes life so much easier.
Head lice eggs found further than 1-2cm from the scalp are usually empty cases that remain attached to the hair. They can have a milky white/opaque appearance. They are not a problem but a lot of people prefer to remove them as they can look unsightly and sometimes people get confused and think they are viable. Back to top of page....
Q24: Can head lice live on any other part of the body?
A: No. There are other types of lice that are human parasites, and they are closely related to head lice. These include body and pubic lice. However, a head louse, or Pediculus humanus capitis, can only live on the head. Back to top of page....
Q25: What should I do if I find head lice?
A: Firstly, don’t panic or show horror or distaste towards the child even if you are up to your third bout of lice in as many months.
When head lice are found you need to take immediate action, don’t send the child who has them to school and wait until later to treat them.
The reproduction of head lice is an ongoing cycle. Every untreated day that is allowed to go by is another day for the female to lay her eggs. Thus more chance of transfer and breeding and more eggs result in more lice, which produce more eggs. Removing head lice can sometimes be a difficult process and is very time consuming. It is well worth taking care of the problem now than let a full on infestation take place.
Contact The Lice Fairy for confidential advice. Back to top of page....
Q26: How will I know when they are gone?
A: By performing regular checks with the lice comb you will be able to establish whether you have removed all the eggs and lice. Don’t forget, if you regularly use eco.kid’s 4 step system of hair products it will help to make your family’s hair unattractive to head lice. *See the range on our product page. Back to top of page....
Q27: Do head lice cause health problems?
A: Head lice do not carry or transmit disease, they are merely a nuisance and do not directly cause any health problems. However, small sores and skin irritation can occur due to an allergic reaction to their bites and secretions, and more often can occur due to scratching. It is then possible for a secondary infection to occur particularly when children have dirt and germs under their nails. Back to top of page....
Q28: Can head Lice be prevented?
A: YES! By using eco.kid’s 4 step system of hair products available from The Lice Fairy you will help to make your family’s hair unattractive to head lice.
*See the full range on our product page. Back to top of page....
Q29: Is kids skin different to adults?
A: Absolutely. Kids’ skin is not adult skin, more importantly a kid produces around 6 times less oil than an adult! It is young and sensitive to synthetic perfumes, colours, preservatives, heavy film-forming conditioners and commercially used surfactants. Back to top of page....
Q30: Can I use my shampoo on my child’s hair?
A: Adult shampoos are too aggressive for children’s sensitive scalps. Although it may look the same, the skin of a child is not the same as the skin of an adult for one very important reason... Sebum.
Sebum is the oil that is excreted onto the human skin by the
Sebaceous Glands. In humans the Sebaceous Glands are found over the entire body surface, except the palms, soles and tops of the feet. These Sebaceous Glands are relatively small over most of the body and are usually found at a density of less than 100 per square cm of body surface. These Glands in areas, such as the neck, face and scalp however, are much larger and more numerous, with a density of up to 800 Glands per square.
These large glands are hormone dependant, being stimulated by the sex hormones, so they become highly active at puberty and in elderly individuals they may cease to function at all. *See Graph
A child's skin and scalp from birth to puberty produces very little sebum at all. The average Sebum production for a child between the age of 6-12 is 0.44mg per 10square cm, per 3 hours.
The average for a teenager between the age of 15-19 is 2.35mg per 10square cm, per 3 hours, and an adult between age 30-39 is 2.52mg per 10square cm, per 3 hours.
This means that the oil production of a teenager’s scalp is more than five times that of a child and the oil production of an adult is almost six times greater than that of a child. Therefore a shampoo designed to cleanse an adults hair and scalp would be much too strong to use on a child and would strip any natural oils present. Back to top of page....
Q31: Why are your shampoos and conditioners different?
A: eco.kid is ecologically responsible and kid friendly. eco.kid products are formulated exclusively for the skin and scalp of a child between the ages of 3 and 12. The products are different for many reasons:
They help prevent split ends and tangles by using an essential oil solvent dry-cleaning action not a detergent action.
eco.kid products help make hair unattractive to head lice because it includes lots of ingredients that smell nice to us but not nice to lice. And they even prevent pollution of our waterways and planet. Back to top of page....
Q32: Are eco.kid Prevent and Prevent Sensitive head lice shampoos?
A: They are shampoos that are exceptional for hair, scalp and the planet! One of the big added bonuses of eco.kid shampoos is that when kids use them regularly, head lice will find their hair less attractive. The essential oils in the botanical cleansing complex have high insect repellant and insect toxicology. Back to top of page....
Q33: How do eco.kid products help care for the environment?
A: eco.kid helps prevent pollution of our waterways and planet because of their commitment to using ecologically responsible, sustainable and readily biodegradable ingredients and manufacturing practices. Many personal care products can be derived from natural resources and yet be virtually non-degradable. eco.kid products are readily biodegradable and made with ecologically responsible ingredients and practices. Unfortunately, many of the ingredients used today to make standard personal care products will still be lingering on somewhere, on our planet, well after our eco.kids have kids of their own.
Their biodegradability policy earns them the right to say their products are “waterway friendly”! Back to top of page....