How to deal with rise of super nits you can’t treat as kids head back to school

Parents may be breathing a sigh of relief as their little darlings finally return to school after the long summer break.

But the start of the new term may mean the return of some real little nasties – head lice.

Dermatologists are warning parents to have their nit combs at the ready as little ones return to classes and their pals.

Research from 2017 found that 45 per cent of children had had head lice in the past five years and it most commonly affects kids between six and nine.

But experts say the more prepared parents are the quicker the problem can be resolved – and the less likely it is that the lice will get the chance to spread to other family members.

But now there's a new head lice threat known as super head lice.

These are strains of the parasite which are resistant to traditional chemical insecticides.

So the British Association of Dermatologists has provided some simple steps for preparing for and managing an outbreak.

Here's what you should be doing if you're little one is struck down by head lice.

1. Make sure that you have the essentials at home already – and all you need is a large bottle of conditioner and a nit comb.

2. Check for nits pre-emptively at home using a nit comb to identify infestation early, prompt treatment helps prevent further spread.

3. If you do find evidence of nits, get to work with the nit comb. Soak wet hair with a generous amount of conditioner to make the procedure easier.

You should then comb through all the hair from the roots to the ends. Depending on the hair type and length, the wet combing process can take up to 45 minutes.

The comb must be immediately cleaned after each pass to remove lice and eggs. This is best done by wiping on clean white paper or cloth.

And check family members for head lice – they may have spread.

4. To ensure all head lice are removed, you should repeat this wet combing process two or three times within the first two weeks following infestation.

5. Continue to check for head lice every week for a month to ensure that they have not returned.

Holly Barber of the British Association of Dermatologists said: "Although it’s important for parents to be prepared for the increased risk of head lice infestation in their children ahead of the new school year, chemical treatments shouldn’t be used as a preventative measure. This can encourage the resistant head lice to develop, making them even harder to get rid of.

"Instead, the British Association of Dermatologists recommends regular examinations with a nit comb in order to detect an infestation early, as starting treatment sooner rather than later will help prevent further spread.

"Parents should also keep in mind that head lice can spread to anybody, no matter how clean their hair or home is.

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