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Treating head lice and nits

Nits: top five tips for parents

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Nits: top five tips for parents

How to spot and destroy head lice and nits, and stop them coming back again

Head lice and nits are unwanted visitors, but very common ones for most children. Don't despair – we can help. Read our essential top five tips for parents to help combat head lice quickly.

Or head straight to the best nit and head lice treatments if you want to know which treatment is best, as voted for by parents.

1. Check for head lice and nits

Regularly checking your child's hair will mean you can spot head lice at the very first sign, and treat them effectively.

How to spot nits and head lice - not sure what to look for? Head to our picture gallery to see what nits and head lice look like

2. When to treat head lice

Treat head lice as soon as you see a live one. Check all the family and treat anyone who has lice.

And remember, if you choose to use a medicated product, use it only when you see live head lice. Do not use a medicated product as a preventative method, otherwise head lice can build up a resistance.

3. How to prevent head lice

We've said it before and we'll say it again – repeat, repeat, repeat.

Always follow up any treatment method as directed by the instructions on the product you're using. Even with treatments that are claimed to kill head lice after one application, the Department of Health suggests checking for lice again after three to five days, and again 10 to 12 days after using the treatment. This is because not all the eggs may be killed by the first application.

If you choose the conditioner-and-nit-comb method, repeat this at regular intervals until all the nits and lice have gone.

Regularly combing through your child's hair and checking will help prevent a reinfestation.

Head lice treatment and brands - find out what's on offer, plus money-saving tips

4. How head lice spread

Head lice are extremely common – they're nothing to be embarrassed about.

If your child has them, do tell your child's school, child minder or nursery so they can alert other parents and ask to get their children treated as soon as possible, to help stop the spread of head lice.

If you don't, you run the risk of your now lice-free child being reinfected by someone they gave the lice to.

5. Who catches head lice?

There are many common myths surrounding head lice and nits, and some spread faster than gossip around the school playground.

Fear not, though – see our handy myth-buster guide to make sure you know the truth about head lice and nits.

Myth buster cartoon