Head Lice is an infestation of the human scalp caused by small, wingless insects. Contrary to popular belief, head lice cannot jump or fly between hosts and require direct head to head contact to crawl from one person to another.
There is no need to treat someone unless they have head lice- so the first step is to confirm that head lice are present using the:
Conditioner and comb method.
- Comb hair conditioner through dry, de-tangled hair with a fine tooth head lice comb.
- Wipe the comb onto a clean tissue and inspect for lice or eggs- we suggest that each part of the hair is combed through at least 4-5 times.
- If any lice or unhatched eggs are found, then treatment is recommended.
Although there are many products on the market, they fall into 3 broad categories- synthetic insecticides (pyrethrins), natural insecticides (essential oils) and agents that suffocate (dimethicone). Treatment with insecticides are preferred as they kill the lice.
Our staff are able to help you select the best option for you and your family.
After treating the head lice it is important to comb through the hair and check that the lice has been killed. Eggs are generally not affected by any hair lice treatment and therefore re-application in 7 days is vital to ensure successful treatment. It is also a good idea to wash the persons pillowcase in hot water (60°C).
There are 3 types of worms that cause infestation – Threadworm, Roundworm and Hookworm. Threadworm is the most common- particularly in school-aged children who then spread it to the rest of the family.
A few ways to limit the risk of worms are things like trimming and cleaning fingernails regularly, washing hands after toileting and before eating, and washing linen and toys in hot water.
Threadworms look like tiny lengths of fine, white cotton. The worm lives in the lower intestine but emerges at night to lay eggs around the anus, this can cause an itchy bottom for the person. Other symptoms include being irritable, not sleeping well and having a decreased appetite. Once laid the eggs can then be shed or scratched off ingested.
There are 2 main treatments for Threadworm:
Pyrantel Dosed as 1 chocolate square (100mg) per 10kg of body weight from 1 year of age. Pyrantel is also effective against Roundworm and Hookworm.
Dosed as a single dose (100mg) from 2 years of age. To be used only in treatment for Threadworm.
If one person in the household has symptoms suggestive of worms, it is important to treat all the family.
Bacterial Conjunctivitis is a highly contagious infection and inflammation of the eye’s outer layer.
It typically presents with a gritty sensation, watering or tearing eyes, a yellow-green discharge that can crust on the lashes, and irritation of the eye.
If a child is showing signs be sure to follow up with a Doctor or Pharmacist as soon as possible.
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease
Hand, foot and mouth disease is a viral infection that causes a rash or blisters on the hands, feet, in or around the mouth.
It mainly affects children under the age of 10 and can spread easily from one person to another. It is mainly spread from the fluid inside the blisters or sneezing and coughing.
If the child is showing signs of feeling tired, have a fever, and have a rash- keep an eye on the rash.
Depending on which virus your child has, the skin rash can look like:
- Small, oval, white blisters on the palms, soles of the feet, as well as in the mouth. Your child may have a sore mouth and throat, leading to poor appetite or risk of dehydration (drinking and eating can be painful because of the mouth blisters).
- A red skin rash with a brown scale on it. The rash appears on the outer arms, hands, legs, feet, around the mouth and upper buttocks. The trunk is usually relatively clear. Sometimes there are blisters present, but they are not usually in the mouth and your child can eat and drink as usual.
Some tips for helping prevent the spread:
- Wash your hands thoroughly after touching the child’s bodily fluids. This includes touching their blisters, helping blow their nose, and changing nappies or helping with toileting.
- Make sure your child doesn’t share cutlery, drinking cups, towels, toothbrushes and clothing.
- Keep your child home from school, kindergarten or child care until all the fluid in their blisters has dried.
Hand, Foot and Mouth is a viral infection, so Antibiotics will not work and shouldn’t be prescribed for children. It will improve on it’s own and keeping the child home away from other children is the best way to stop any spread. While keeping the child at home make sure they stay hydrated, are comfortable pain wise (You can give Panadol & Nurofen if need be) and most importantly- let the blisters dry naturally by not piercing or squeezing them.