Head Lice & Nits

Head lice are tiny insects that live in hair. Nits are the empty egg cases attached to hair that head lice hatch from. Head lice are a common problem, particularly in school children aged 4-11.

Signs of head lice include small white eggs or nits in the hair behind the ears or at back of the neck, an itchy scalp, and a rash on the back of the neck.

The only way to be certain that you or your child has head lice is to brush a special fine-toothed comb through wet conditioned hair. You will then be able to see the head lice on the comb. These combs can be bought from pharmacies.


You do not usually need to see a doctor?

If you think you or your child has headlice. Treatments can be bought over-the-counter in pharmacies and some supermarkets. 


The main treaments are:

  • Lotions or sprays that kill head lice – these can be very effective, but some aren't suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or for children under two.
  • Removing head lice with a specially designed comb – this is suitable for everyone and relatively inexpensive, but needs to be repeated several times and can take a long time to do thoroughly.

If you are unsure of which treatment to use, speak to your pharmacist.


More Information

For more information on fevers in children visit the NHS choices website by clicking the link below:


Content adapted from NHS Choices