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Itchy heads and confused minds: how can you help parents fight head lice?

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Itchy heads and confused minds: how can you help parents fight head lice?

Head lice are regular and uninvited visitors into the lives of many primary school children and their parents. In fact, head lice affect around:

  • 1 in every 3 children in the UK
  • 1 in 5 children catching them 4 times or more

Although lice aren’t particularly dangerous and do not spread disease, they are most definitely a nuisance and can be a distressing and uncomfortable experience for all involved.

Despite the common occurrence there is a surprising amount of misinformation about head lice and the efficacy of different treatment options. Pharmacy staff represent the front line in the fight against head lice and are well placed to guide parents through the array of confusion and misinformation.

Busting the myths that spread at school gates

Myth 1: Head lice treatments don’t work against new, resistant “super lice”
False: Whilst some head lice have grown resistant to insecticide treatments, most Lyclear treatment products are in fact insecticide free. Head lice are unable to develop a resistance to insecticide free treatments, which work by suffocating and dehydrating the lice and eggs.

Myth 2: Head lice can fly and jump between heads 
False: Head lice are wingless insects and cannot fly, jump or swim and are spread mainly by head-to-head contact. This is why they are a particularly common problem among primary school children.

Myth 3: Head lice prefer unclean hair
False: Head lice are not fussy; they like clean or dirty hair. Contracting head lice has nothing to do with hygiene.

Myth 4: Head lice treatment products do not work and are not safe to use on children
False: Head lice treatments are the most effective way to get rid of lice. Lyclear products are clinically proven to kill quickly and are tested to be safe for children’s hair and skin.

Myth 5: Combing is the only effective treatment
False: Combing out head lice is only effective if all lice are extracted. Removing lice with a comb is a time-consuming task and does nothing to kill the lice or their eggs. Head lice are about the size of a pinhead when hatched and only 2-3mm when fully grown. A mature louse can lay between 200 and 300 eggs in their short life time, so all it takes is one missed egg or louse for a full infestation to take hold again in a matter of weeks.

The treatment options available

A quick a Google search will provide parents with a number of strange and unproven home remedies for treating head lice, from mayonnaise to mouthwash. What clinically proven options can you recommend to parents to treat an infestation?

Physical Treatment Products
These products work by killing the head lice and their eggs. Even if lice or eggs are left in the hair following combing, they cannot then cause a full re-infestation to take hold once more. Lyclear’s insecticide free treatment range coats the surface of the lice, physically blocking their breathing holes (spiracles) and suffocating them. Lyclear’s double action formula also works to dehydrate lice by wearing down their external wax coating.

Lyclear’s non-insecticide treatments come in four easy to use formats:

  • Lyclear Shampoo 
  • Lyclear Spray
  • Lyclear Lotion
  • Lyclear Sensitive

The best treatment is of course the prevention of head lice infestation in the first place. Whilst it is difficult to stop children encountering infested heads, there are repellent products that can be recommended to provide protection.

Lyclear Head Lice Repellent spray is clinically proven to repel and prevent the spread of head lice, providing up to 24 hours protection per application.  This repellent can protect parents whilst they are treating their children as well as the children themselves.

Lyclear: Together in the fight against head lice

From January 2019 Lyclear is partnering up with MadeforMums for the first time in an effort to educate parents on a broad range of head lice topics, ranging from the symptoms of head lice and the correct way to treat to adult infestation.

“Getting head lice is an uncomfortable and distressing experience for children, and can make parents feel embarrassed and frustrated,” said Holly Turner, Senior Marketing Director at Perrigo. “Our partnership with MadeforMums aims to take the hassle and stress out of head lice, supporting parents and children with education and products”.

Lyclear is also providing useful resources to the UK’s schools to help educate staff, parents and pupils on the best way to check for and treat head lice. Partnership content can be found here and educational material that can be provided to parents seeking more information can be found here.

Together with parents and pharmacists, Lyclear want to promote less head scratching and more effective treatment in classrooms and homes across the country.