Stop the nit spread with free lice checks

Geraldton Guardian - - News - Tamra Carr

Melissa Weir be­lieves head lice are “cock­roaches of the hair”, and with the re­turn to school last week, she is en­cour­ag­ing par­ents to get them­selves and their chil­dren a free lice check.

Ms Weir, who owns and di­rects lo­cal head lice and nit treat­ment ser­vice Ni­talie Delouse, said about 55 per cent of Ger­ald­ton res­i­dents got a lice in­fes­ta­tion at least once a year and un­treated cases could be­come quite se­vere.

“Of­ten, you’ll find a red rash on the nape of your neck, which is a re­ac­tion to the saliva and fae­ces of the lice,” she said. “You get itchy, some peo­ple can feel them mov­ing around on their heads, or feel them bit­ing and they start scratch­ing scabs.

“I’ve seen chil­dren with open wounds on their heads come in and see us and sometimes they have to see a doc­tor.

“It can get quite se­vere if no one at­tends to it.”

A sin­gle louse will, on av­er­age, lay 10 eggs a day for about 30 days, pro­duc­ing about 300 lice a month, ac­cord­ing to Ms Weir.

She said windy places like Ger­ald­ton helped lice spread.

“Lice feed off hu­man blood, so they bite at your scalp and suck your blood like a lit­tle vam­pire,” she said. “The wind in Ger­ald­ton helps the spread of lice, with hair fly­ing around the place. “They crawl up your cloth­ing. “You can get lice from hug­ging, shar­ing hats and play­ing dress-up.

“An­other way you can catch lice is by tak­ing self­ies with friends when your heads are close to­gether.”

The De­part­ment of Health ad­vises par­ents to check their chil­dren’s hair reg­u­larly for head lice and eggs, tie long hair back and use hair gel and mousse to keep hair strands away from other heads.

To ar­range a free lice check, con­tact Melissa Weir on 0499 966 648.

Pic­ture: Tamra Carr

Glo­ria De­gan checks Bella Gra­ham, 8, for lice.

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