Besides being very uncomfortable, head lice causes a great deal of embarrassment as they are understandably but wrongly felt to reflect the individual’s state of hygiene and cleanliness. Interestingly enough, they prefer a head with clean hair free of grease and dandruff. They are parasites that feed on human blood obtained from the scalp and cause much irritation. The eggs (nits) are attached very firmly to the hair close to the scalp and the fact that they cannot easily be shaken off is the difference between them and flakes of dandruff. The condition spreads very rapidly by means of infected hair brushes and by direct contact; therefore children should be kept away from school until the condition is treated.
This consists of shampooing the head well with a preparation of gamma benzene hexachloride (‘Quelada’) or carbonyl (“Sulyeo’), following which the hair should be carefully combed with a special fine-tooth comb ( a metal one is the most satisfactory form). It is important that the whole family should be treated and this can be done at the local school treatment centre.