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Which? reveals why head lice are spreading

Are you leaving your child at risk of infection?

Head Louse

Head lice – find out how to get rid of these unwanted critters in your child’s hair

Which? research has found that 16% of UK parents are failing to follow-up on initial head lice treatment – potentially leaving their children at risk of another infestation and passing head lice on to others. 

This figure rose to 20% when parents treated head lice using a medicated product with a nit comb, and was revealed when we surveyed 1,000 UK parents who have had the unwelcome pleasure of tackling head lice infestations. 

Following up on treatment is key to keeping kids clear of nits. Even with treatments that claim to tackle head lice in one go, parents still need to check hair after a few days to see if any head lice have hatched from any remaining live eggs. 

We also asked the 1,000 parents which treatment worked best for them. Not only will our results help you to get rid of head lice and nits, but we’ll save you money, too – as you won’t waste your cash on treatments that are less likely to work on your child. For the full results, see the best nit and head lice treatments.

Help prevent head lice – here are our top five tips to get rid of nits:

1. Check for lice and nits

Unsure what head lice eggs actually look like or what a nit it? Prepare to itch as the head lice pictures in our how to spot nits and head lice gallery will show you how to spot nits and exactly what to look for.

Regularly checking you child’s hair will mean you can treat head lice and nits as quickly as possible. 

2. Head lice treatment

Treat head lice as soon as you spot a live head louse. Check everyone in the family and treat anyone who has live head lice. 

If you decide to use a medicated problem, don’t treat unless you’ve seen live lice. Otherwise you risk exposing head lice to a non-lethal dose, which means they could build up a resistance.

3. Cheap nit treatments

Whether you use a cheap nit treatment or splash out on an expensive branded product, it will only work if you use it properly. Splashing out on an expensive product will be a false economy if you don’t apply it properly or do a follow-up treatment. 

We reveal which method parents think works the best, plus show you how to use it in our step-by-step picture gallery – see the best nit and head lice treatments


4. Repeat, repeat, repeat

Whichever method you choose to use, repeat the treatment with a follow-up dose in case the first application doesn’t kill all the eggs. 

That includes treatments which claims to clear head lice in one go. Current Department of Health advice is to check for head lice again three to five days after the initial treatment, then 10 – 12 days after. And repeat the treatment again if you find any live head lice. 

5. Be a nit picker

Become a nit picker! Regular combing through your child’s hair with a nit comb can help combat an infestation of head lice and nits and it can also help stop your child being re-infested.

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