Tip Of The Day: How To Get Rid Of Nits

09/08/2011 15:12 | Updated 22 May 2015

Now here's a mystery - ParentDish has been running for several months and has published hundreds of parenting articles in that time. Yet not once have we mentioned a subject that every parent is very familiar with - head lice AKA nits.

So let me be the first to out myself - my name is Joanne, and my children have had nits. And since they've just gone back to school, they'll probably be getting them again any day now.

The first time you encounter head lice, it will probably give you the creeps, but pretty soon you'll be flicking them off your child's head with little thought, and giving yourself brownie points when you find an extra large one.

And make no mistake, it's up to you to look for them. Research amongst 4,000 parents, commissioned by head lice treatment Hedrin, shows a quarter mistakenly thought the school was checking for head lice during the school term.

The research also found that 43 worried that they wouldn't be able to get rid of them.

So what does work when it comes to getting rid of nits?

I've never had much luck with anti-nit potions, but have found that slathering the hair in conditioner and combing through regularly with a Nitty Gritty Comb, will eradicate the beasties. I did hesitate before buying this comb because at £11 it's more expensive than other combs, and let's face it, who wants to spend more than they have to on dull stuff like nit combs? But apparently Jonathan Ross uses it, and he's got a fine head of hair. And more importantly than that, it does work.

Christine Brown, nurse consultant in medical entomology and an expert in head lice, says: "Parents need to regularly check their children's hair, during the school term, as well as the holidays. Using a head lice detection comb, they should look for small insects which can be of any size from that of a full-stop to the size of a sesame seed on a burger bun. If lice are found then seek advice from a pharmacy and use a treatment that lice aren't resistant to, following the instructions carefully.

Christine is a spokesperson for a national campaign called Once a Week, Take a Peek which is aimed at championing the role of parents in the battle against head lice.

These are her five top tips for dealing effectively with head lice throughout the year:

1. Don't use a treatment on members of the family unless live lice have been found

2. There is no need to treat bedding or clothing, only dead or dying lice are found here, as there is no food supply

3. Check your child on a regular, weekly basis to minimise infestation

4. Read and follow all the instructions on the package insert or label

5. Don't be tempted by a quick, cheap fix - use a clinically proven, non-pesticide treatment - such as dimeticone - to which lice cannot develop a resistance. Ask your pharmacist for advice.

For further easy to follow tips and advice on how to treat head lice, or to request a free leaflet, visit

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