Head lice are very common (1) and notoriously difficult to prevent, meaning most people will suffer from catching them within their lifetime.
Children are the most susceptible (2), with close contact learning and play in classrooms and playgrounds being an ideal environment for head lice to spread.
Infested children can pass them on to the rest of their family and their friends, with the longer they remain untreated the further the infestation spreading.
A prime problem with head lice is that they are almost impossible to completely prevent. Despite common misconceptions about their preference for clean hair, head lice make no distinction between clean or dirty, fair or dark - they will make their home wherever they find it (2).
Thankfully head lice can't jump, but they can walk and will do from hair to hair (3). Avoid head to head contact to minimise the risk of this occurring.
Head lice can survive outside of the head for several days and Eggs firmly attach themselves to hairs (4). If these were to find their way into items of clothing and then onto someone else's head it could potentially infest them. It is wise to not share items that come into contact with the head and shoulders during an outbreak.
A single Louse of egg can go on to infest everyone in a household, so putting effort into preventing the spread can be worthwhile. As soon as news of a potential outbreak is known take the time to regularly inspect the heads of anyone coming into contact with the affected environment.
Short hair has the definite advantage when it comes to avoiding head lice. Longer hair is at a higher risk of infestation and is harder to search for lice. While little can be done to stop an infestation, by braiding or plaiting the hair you minimise the contact it could potentially have with others and reduce the chances of one occurring (5).
For more information on how to prevent head lice click here.
When detecting lice a close visual inspection of the head can reveal an infestation, but the most effective method is to use a detection comb to methodically sift through the hair for a better look at the scalp.
It pays to be thorough as it can only take one louse or egg to escape attention to trigger an infestation, so be sure to examine every part of the head.
For an infestation to be confirmed a live louse must be seen, as this would mean further eggs are potentially being laid and the risk of spreading the lice further is real.
For more information on the myths surrounding head lice click here.
If an outbreak is declared or you suspect someone may be carrying head lice, there are specific signs to look out for that can reveal the infestation.
Many of them are only visible after a prolonged period of time so the most effective action is to put the effort into early detection by checking periodically and using protective methods where appropriate. If you wait for some of these symptoms to show before acting it's extremely likely the infestation will have taken a firm hold and potentially have spread to other hosts.
An itch inciting scratching is an obvious sign, but is not caused by the movement of the lice through the hair. It is instead caused by a reaction to their saliva as they feed.
Typically found across the back of the neck and ears, this is caused by a reaction to lice droppings
Restless and broken sleep can be as a result of the itchiness – but because the lice are more active at night this symptom might manifest itself sooner.
Lice eggs look very similar to dandruff - particularly the empty egg shells of hatched lice. If someone suddenly appears to have developed dandruff unexpectedly it could well be sign something else is residing on their scalp.
A noticeable sign caused by the lice feeding on the scalp and the subsequent scratching of it by the host. Scratching is to be avoided as it increases the risk of broken skin and infection.
For more information on the symptoms of head lice click here.
For more information on the effect of head lice click here.
If the worst should happen and someone does contract head lice there are a number of treatment options available, including:
There are three categories of treatment:
If choosing to manually comb and sift hair using a detection comb, the best method is to wet the hair and carry out a complete comb and inspection every few days to gradually thin out and eradicate all lice and eggs.
Wetting the hair prevents the lice from easily moving away when exposed through the parting of hair – allowing you to catch and kill them (6).
Treat everyone together as best you can and keep up the routine for around two weeks. This should be long enough to have caught all adult lice and the young nymphs as they hatch form the eggs before they mature and begin laying eggs themselves.
Each different product will have its own method of application to follow, so be sure to follow those instructions closely to achieve the best results.
Vamousse Headlice Treatment is a physical treatment that uses isopropyl alcohol, geraniol and isopropyl myristate as its key ingredients. This unique combination works to dehydrate the lice and the difficult to eradicate eggs – achieving up to 100% effectiveness in just 15 minutes of contact in scientific tests.
Conveniently, Vamousse Headlice Treatment requires one application allowing you to treat all members of the household in one go and reduces the risk of re-infestation, helping to solve the problem quickly and efficiently.
Vamousse also produce a protective shampoo, which works to break the life cycle of headlice, helping to protect against infestation. It is a suitable way of keeping clear of infestation during known outbreaks when individuals are treated at different times and can be used by the whole family.
For more information on head lice treatments click here.
Take a look here to find out where to purchase Vamousse online and in stores.