Frequently Asked Questions

1What are head lice?

Head lice are tiny parasites which live on the human scalp and hair. They feed on blood several times a day and they cannot survive for more than 24 hours away from their human host.

2What are nits? Are they the same as head lice?

Nits are not the same thing as head lice. They are the eggs that head lice lay. They are usually oval shaped and about the size of a grain of salt. They are fixed to the hair close to the scalp while head lice move around the scalp and hair.

3Is a head lice infestation a sign of poor hygiene?

No. Head lice are not fussy about cleanliness and are not an indication of cleanliness. All they want is a warm head and blood to feed on.

4Can you catch head lice from birds and animals?

No, you can’t catch head lice from birds and animals. They are "host specific" and only live on humans.

5How long do head lice live?

Head lice can only live for about 4 to 5 weeks. Since the females lay eggs everyday and the eggs hatch in 7 to 10 days it may seem like they live for a long time.

6How can I tell if my child has head lice?

The best way to tell is to do an inspection of the child's head. You may see actual lice or tiny white or grey specks stuck to the hair usually found near the scalp. Children often complain of an itchy scalp but sometimes there are no symptoms.

7Are head lice contagious?

Yes, they spread easily from one person to the next person. This may be through direct contact (heads touching) or indirect contact (sharing a hat or brush). Head lice can crawl onto objects like hats and brushes but they cannot fly or jump.

8What are the main types of head lice products available in Australia?

There are chemical pesticide products like malathion and permethrin. Head lice are developing resistance to some pesticides. Another type of product is based on natural essential oils. They have been criticised for lack of clinical studies. NeutraLice Natural Lotion and Spray are one of only a few natural essential oil products that have been clinically tested and proven to kill head lice1. Resistance has not been reported to be a problem with essential oil products. Suffocation products have a physical mode of action and kill lice by suffocating them. NeutraLice Advance is clinically proven to kill head lice1. It is a low irritant formula. Resistance has not been reported to be a problem with suffocation products.

9Is the person with head lice the only one who needs treatment?

All the members of the household should be carefully inspected and treated if head lice or eggs are found. You should notify the parents of friends that your child has been in contact with so that they are on the lookout for an outbreak.

10How can eggs survive the treatment?

There is no treatment available that can kill 100% of the eggs in 1 treatment. The eggs hatch around 7 days after being laid. That is why more than 1 treatment is required to break the head lice cycle.

11Why do I need to treat my child 3 times?

In general use, no product available can kill all eggs in 1 treatment. Unless all the eggs are removed there is a risk of some eggs hatching after a treatment. Retreatment 7 and 14 days after the first treatment is necessary to kill any head lice that have hatched from surviving eggs before they mature and lay more eggs, and to break the head lice cycle.

12Why are NeutraLice Lotion, Spray and Advance Kits applied to dry hair?

Head lice breathe through special spiracles. They react to soaking with water by shutting down these spiracles. Applying a head lice treatment to wet hair is not recommended as it may reduce the effectiveness of the product. In the clinical study conducted with NeutraLice the treatment was applied to dry hair and the results confirm that almost 98% of people treated were free of head lice.

13The products I have used in the past don't seem to work, why?

Head lice are developing resistance to some pesticides. Some of the natural essential oil products have not been clinically tested and proven to kill head lice. NeutraLice Natural Lotion and Spray as well as NeutraLice Advance are clinically proven to kill head lice

14What can I use to get rid of the eggs (nits)?

Removal of eggs can be difficult as the eggs are attached to the hair with a glue-like substance. Eggs are difficult to comb out of the hair and don't just fall out after a treatment. NeutraLice Conditioner Shampoo Lice Egg Remover is a specially formulated hair cleanser for daily use to help remove the eggs. It helps break the bond between the eggs and the hair. This helps loosen the eggs, allowing them to be combed out more easily. Note that NeutraLice Conditioner Shampoo Lice Egg Remover is not a treatment product and does not kill head lice.

15Do I have to purchase a special product for bedding, clothing and stuffed soft toys?

No, you don't have to purchase a special product. Head lice cannot survive away from the human scalp as they feed on human blood. Bedding and clothing should be washed in hot water and then dried in a hot dryer. Brushes and combs should be washed in hot water. Any items that are not washable like stuffed soft toys should be put in the dryer on a hot cycle or alternatively they can be sealed in a plastic bag for a few days.

16Is there any product that can prevent head lice?

Even though there are some products on the market that claim to prevent head lice, there is no product that has been clinically proven to do so.

17Is there a product that can be used on a child with sensitive skin?

NeutraLice Advance is clinically proven1 to kill head lice and is a low irritant formula.

18What is the best way to comb the hair after using a treatment?

While hair is still damp, start at the top of the head and lift a 2cm section of hair. Ensure the teeth of the comb are as deep into the hair as they can go and touching the scalp. Comb with a firm even motion away from the scalp to the end of the hair. Wipe eggs completely from the comb with a tissue. Continue process with each section of hair.

NeutraLice Lotion, Spray and Advance Kits contain a lice comb to help detect and remove eggs. Also available is the NeutraLice Nitcomb-M3, a metal comb. It has three rows of teeth which are fine and extra fine, and increases the effectiveness you get with a single row comb.

Always read the label. Follow the directions for use.
If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.

Reference: 1. Barker and Altman: A randomised, assessor blind, parallel group comparative efficacy trial of three products for the treatment of head lice in children - melaleuca oil and lavender oil, pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide, and a suffocation product. BMC Dermatology 2010 10:6. Research was funded by Key Pharmaceuticals.