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Headlice

Facts
Headlice are a common problem all over the world.  They are small, flat insects about 2-3mm long that breed all year round.

Headlice:
  • live on the human scalp which provides food and warmth for their eggs to hatch
  • feed on human blood through the scalp 5 or 6 times a day
  • cannot jump, fly or swim
  • do not carry disease
  • remain on the head after swimming or bathing/showering

Headlice may cause itching, but do not usually cause disease.  Occasionally, scalp infections requiring treatment may develop.


When to treat
  • If you find a LIVE insect on the scalp
  • If you find eggs within 1cm of the scalp

How to treat

You will need a special shampoo or treatment containing insecticide available only from your chemist to kill both the insects and the eggs.

Can I be at school?
Pupils are not excluded from school because of headlice but if you have headlice, you are expected to be treating them with an appropriate application. Click here to read the school's Sickness Policy which includes headlice.

More information
Click here for a pamphlet from the Ministry of Health about headlice and the appropriate treatment.