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Time for some lice advice

Wednesday, 5th September, 2018 4:36pm

With the new school year upon us, pharmacists are urging parents and guardians to act to prevent the spread of head lice.

It is estimated that one in ten children suffer from head lice at any one time, with 80 per cent of head lice infestations occurring in children between the ages of four and 16. According to the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), all children should be screened for head lice once a week when they return to school.

Advice issued by the IPU on head lice for parents/guardians includes:

Checking children’s hair for lice regularly, ideally once a week, in good light using a wet comb

Looking out for nits, which are tiny eggs that may look like dandruff but cannot be flicked off the hair

Checking close to the scalp, behind the ears, around the nape of the neck, top of the head and under the fringe

Treating the hair only if live lice or unhatched eggs are present

Informing the school, contacts and friends when your child has head lice

Following the instructions on the treatment pack, and any advice given by your pharmacist.

Caitriona O’Riordan, pharmacist and member of the Executive Committee of the IPU assured parents and children that lice was nothing to be embarrassed about. She said students found with head lice were advised to start treatment as soon as possible.

“There are several treatment options available, and you should seek advice from your pharmacist about which is the most appropriate for your child. This is particularly important for any child suffering from asthma, allergies or those with a pre-existing skin condition, as they are the most likely to suffer a reaction.”

Ms O’Riordan added that it was also important for children to only take treatment if living lice was found, and not to use lice products as a preventative measure.

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