Pediculus humanus capitis is the scientific name for Head Lice or Nits. The head louse is an obligate ectoparasite of humans that causes head lice infestation. Head lice are wingless insects spending their entire lives on the human scalp and feeding exclusively on human blood. Wikipedia We have spent most of our Saturday in battle against these invaders. Our youngest had everything from eggs to adults in her long hair. Where did she get them?  Most likely from school but that is of relatively minor importance since blaming this one or that one does not make for a better Saturday. This is not our first time over the 10 years that our children have attended School so far. We took decisive action on the first occasion and with the help of our local experts, Ziggety Snipets and Nitpro in Robina, we eradicated the first outbreak and learned a lot about these little critters… and incidentally with the bank balance being down about $300 for all the family to be treated. The teacher on this occasion was not supportive, passing it of as just part of everyday school life. Not really the answer that parents want on the first occasion. What we learned Nitpro had thoroughly researched the market and tested many of the popular brands available in the supermarket or pharmacy shelves. Unfortunately, they don’t work. They may kill off some adults or juveniles but generally not the eggs. Eggs are visible to the naked eye, barely. Under a magnifying glass they are definitely easier to see. Adults can be the size of small ants so no trouble seeing them. As Wiki says above, they are wingless so they don’t fly around the classroom. However, they do transfer from one person to the next by physical contact. Could be girls’ heads touching, sharing combs or hairbrushes, sharing hats or hair ties and ribbons. The nits aren’t discriminatory. Boys too can get them. They do have a product range now that works and they also have a preventative product that you can spray on your children’s hair on school days, once you are clear. This preventative will attack any adult that transfers by the methods mentioned above. The battle First up, apply the hair treatment as described on the bottle and then after 10 minutes shampoo and condition hair as normal. Allow to dry naturally. Then thoroughly examine the hair and scalp with a nit comb, wiping the comb regularly on a piece of paper towel. Depending on the degree of the attack, expect to use up to 10 sheets of paper towel. The treatment will rapidly kill the adults and juveniles but it is the thorough searching for the eggs that is so important, otherwise in 3 weeks you are back to square one. Expect this process to last up to an hour.  Nobody said this was going to be easy… and this is the reason it costs so much first time around at the likes of Nitpro. The Secondary Battle Well done you if you have won the first battle but here’s the thing. You now need to wash every bed sheet and covering in the house, spray every pillow, mattress, and lounge chair coverings and cushions. I’d suggest a cotton cycle on your washing machine at 50 or 60°C to sanitise everything. Besitos have products available from Woolworths that is ostensibly for the treatment  for bed bugs. This comes as a liquid for adding to your normal washing machine liquid or powder as well as a spray for the likes of those cushions and lounge chair covers and mattresses. Finally wash all pj’s, school uniforms and school hats (or any other hats that may be suspect) I urge you to treat all categories of the secondary battle as if you were fighting a highly contagious disease. Don’t think near enough is good enough. Go the extra mile even though your Saturday might end up like ours, with 7 full loads of a 51minute cycle to complete the task. Victory is in sight This bit is crucial. Check and re-check over the coming fortnight for re-infection. Hopefully you are clear. We are yet to find out. On our first visit to Nitpro back in the day, we went back for a second treatment as recommended. True enough there were a few new juveniles still there but no eggs and no adults. The second treatment proved decisive. The rest of the family had a quick check up with no incidences to report. Summary That teacher was wrong…do not accept that it is just one of those things that can’t be controlled. With the right treatment it can be eradicated in a few weeks. It’s going to cost you whether you go to the salon or diy. Not all children exhibit scratching and irritability. Our child did not, so don’t just ask the question. Check yourself for those eggs and signs of redness on the scalp, particularly behind the ears and nape of the neck. Important to note that this article is not sponsored by any company or product range. I have referenced the sources we found to be successful and accept their advice on the products that they have tested, both for success and non-performance.