Whilst head lice is more of a nuisance than a public health threat, it is listed as an infectious disease. Children with head lice need to be excluded from childcare and schools until appropriate treatment has commenced.
Particularly after a parent has been notified of an incident of head lice at their children’s school or childcare facility, they should routinely carry out thorough inspection of their child’s head, looking for any signs of head lice or eggs(nits) .
To treat head lice is an easy process as described in the following pamphlet. The options are limited to:
- applying a treatment designed to kill the lice insect and to kill the eggs; or
- daily combing with a special fine toothed comb to remove the lice and any lice that hatch from the eggs.
Suppliers of the treatments are the pharmacies and some health food shops.
The principal of a school or childcare centre has the power to exclude a child until appropriate treatment has commenced. Children with live lice should never be sent to school or other public gathering.