All About Head Lice and How to Get Rid of Them

Dealing with head lice infestations is an unpleasant but common problem – particularly for school-aged children and their parents in Australia.

Luckily there are a number of effective products available which can make eliminating a head lice infestation as easy, efficient and painless a process as possible.


What are Head Lice?

Adult head lice are wingless, 2-4mm long, and around the size of a sesame seed but with six legs. They are blood-sucking, parasitic insects that live exclusively on humans. Adult head lice are generally found living on the scalp, the back of the head and behind the ears. They are usually white, pale grey or brown in colour and are known to live in all hair types – curly and straight, dyed and natural.

Infested children will generally carry less than 20 adult head lice, and frequently less than 10. If left untreated, adult head lice will live for up to a month. 

Head lice must stay close to the scalp for warmth, food and moisture – they feed every three to six hours, simultaneously sucking blood while injecting saliva. 


The Head Lice Life Cycle

  1. After mating, adult female head lice can lay around five or six eggs each day for their lifespan of around 30 days.

  2. Head lice eggs are known as nits and are firmly glued around the base of individual hairs close to the scalp.

  3. The head lice eggs will then hatch around 10 days after being produced.

  4. Freshly hatched lice are known as nymphs, which will each moult several times over the next 10 to 15 days before maturing into adult head lice. 

  5. Empty nits/ hatched eggshells can remain glued to hairs for several weeks but are not a source of continual infestation.

  6. Mature head lice and nymphs can survive on their own, away from a human host’s scalp, for up to three days.


How Head Lice Spread

Head lice are known to spread predominantly through direct head-to-head contact. The most frequently seen means of transmission occurs when children touch heads while playing together indoors at home or school, outdoors on the playground or while playing sport.

Sharing objects such as hats, hairbrushes, combs, hair ties and other accessories can also transfer head lice from person to person. Head lice do not fly, hop or jump, but are able to crawl at a rapid rate. Head lice are not able to live on dogs or other animals, so pets are not a means of transmission.

The presence of head lice is not an indication of personal hygiene or cleanliness. Unlike body lice, head lice do not spread disease and do not pose any significant health risk.


Contain the Problem

If a child comes home from school with a case of head lice, there are several steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of head lice spreading to other members of the household:

  • Check all other family members or close contacts for signs of head lice.

  • Avoid close contact until the infestation has been treated and is under control.

  • Washing hats, hair accessories, pillows, pillowcases, sheets and other bedding in hot water may help to control the spread of head lice.

  • When treating a child affected by head lice, it’s often a good idea for the rest of the family to be treated also in order to prevent spreading and reinfestation. 


Signs & Symptoms

Head lice infestations may be asymptomatic for some people, which can make detection tricky initially. However, itching may begin to occur when an individual becomes sensitive to certain components of head louse saliva that are injected into the skin during feeding.

For many people, itching is the first noticeable indication of an infestation. Parents may notice children frequently scratching around their scalp or behind the ears. Affected children may become tired, moody or irritable, and may have trouble concentrating on homework or in the classroom. Sores on children’s heads from scratching, or lice droppings which appear as tiny black specs, can be physical indications of an infestation.  


KP24 Medicated Range

KP24’s Medicated Range is strong and effective. It treats and controls head lice infestations and is for severe cases of head lice.

KP24 Medicated Lotion should be applied to dry hair and left in the hair for 8-12 hours in order to allow the treatment to coat the hair so that all lice and eggs are treated, and then rinsed out. The lotion dries fast so that there is no mess. 

KP24 Medicated Foam should be applied to the hair, massaged in for five minutes, and left on for 30 minutes then rinsed out with warm water. 

The treatment can be repeated after seven days if necessary. Malathion, the active ingredient in the KP24 Medicated Range, controls head lice and their eggs quickly and effectively.

Always read the label and follow the directions for use.


KP24 Rapid Range

KP24’s Rapid Range is fast and effective. The head lice treatments take just 10-15 minutes and are pesticide-free.

KP24 Rapid is an effective way to kill head lice and their eggs. It should be massaged thoroughly onto the scalp and hair and left for ten minutes. 

A bonus metal, fine tooth comb is included in the pack. It should be used to remove dead lice and eggs before washing hair.

KP24 Rapid Shampoo with LPF is the latest innovation in head lice treatments. The rapid formula kills head lice and their eggs, and the specially developed Lice Protection Factor (LPF) protects against reinfestation. 

The product should be applied to hair, massaged thoroughly to cover the scalp and hair, then left on for 15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. 

Always read the label and follow the directions for use.


KP24 Nit Bomb

KP24 Nit Bomb is insecticide-free and effectively kills head lice in a single treatment. The solution kills head lice at all developmental stages and eliminates nits in one hour.

KP24 Nit Bomb solution should be applied thoroughly to dry hair, covering the entire scalp and all hair from the root to the end. The scalp and hair should be saturated to ensure that all lice and nits are completely covered. 

After the treatment has been applied, the hair should be covered with a shower cap for one hour – being sure to observe exposure time carefully.

Remove shower cap after one hour and wash hair thoroughly with water and shampoo. Then all lice and nits should be removed from hair using the included KP24 Nit Bomb removal comb.

Always read the label and follow the directions for use.


KP24 Head Lice Defence Spray

KP24 Head Lice Defence Spray works to deter head lice by emitting a natural oil blend fragrance formulation of eucalyptus, orange, cinnamon, tea tree and lavender oil.  

Apply spray before school or group activities. KP-24 Head Lice Defence Spray is quick and easy to use and should be applied daily for best results. 


KP24 Anti-Lice Shampoo

KP24 Anti-Lice Shampoo repels and prevents head lice infestations. The shampoo should be used on wet hair similarly to any traditional shampoo. Massage into the hair and scalp and leave on for two minutes before rinsing off with lukewarm water.

It is recommended to use KP24 Anti-Lice Shampoo every three days to ensure protection.