How to prevent and combat head lice in the UAE

Keep the itch at bay

How to prevent and combat head lice in the UAE

We know It’s not a subject that is particularly pleasant to talk about, but the fact is that as parents we are all at risk of receiving that dreaded phone call or email from the school nurse either telling us that our little person has nits, or that there has been a confirmed case in their class.

Don’t panic! Even though admittedly you’re kind of warranted to do just that – after all it is fairly unpleasant.

The good news is that now you don’t need to deal with those pesky infestations at home with a lice comb and disgusting-smelling shampoo (you’ve all been there).

No More Lice in J3 Mall on Al Wasl Road in Dubai was founded by mum-of-two Paola Surdo, who was struggling with her own kid’s lice issues after discovering that her only alternative to getting rid of the little mites was with pharmacy-bought medicated shampoos, which didn’t work very well anyway.

But despite the fact that head lice are common in UAE schools, there is still a bit of a taboo when it comes to discussing it.

Sudro is quick to point out that there really is no need to be ashamed.

“I think it’s because most people think getting head lice is related to personal hygiene, which is not true at all,” says Surdo.

“Lice aren’t bothered nor do they have preferences. The sesame-seed-size insects couldn’t care less whether you’re rich or poor, clean or dirty, rural or urban, they just look for any scalp that’s nearby.”

And unlike cold and flu season, Surdo explains that there is no specific time of the year when lice are more active. In fact, head lice can strike at any time from January right through to December.

So what happens when you get that dreaded phone call saying that a child in your kid’s class has nits?

“When the school confirms there is a case, or cases, they usually remove the child with lice from the classroom and advice the parents to carry out the treatment to get rid of them,” says Surdo.

“But that said, every school has a different procedure and I am personally trying to spread the word about how to prevent head lice and what steps to follow if a case is confirmed,” Surdo explains.

“While the shampoos do help to remove lice, the difficult part is the nits, which keep on generating lice. That’s the reason it’s hard to eradicate fully,” Surdo says.

Something to watch out for with older children – who can still get head lice – is teasing from their peers.

“Kids between the ages of ten and 16 can be particularly susceptible to being teased by their friends. We once had a case where a 14-year-old-girl didn’t want to go to school for a few months simply because her friends were being nasty to her about her having caught head lice.”

But more than just being an annoying pest, some bad infestations can go on to become a serious health problem as the head gets so itchy it can lead to kids being distracted at school or not being able to sleep at night, bringing on episodes of sleep deprivation.

So how do the experts at No More Lice rid your child of these horrible little blood-suckers? Well, the good news is that they don’t use any nasty chemicals, instead they treat them in an organic way using 100 percent natural products – and that really does do the job once and for all. Phew.

We bet you feel itchy just reading this.

What to look out for
A tickling sensation of something moving around in the hair.

Itching, which is caused by an allergic reaction to the louse bites.

Irritability and difficulty sleeping; head lice are most active in the dark.

Sores on the scalp caused by scratching. These sores can sometimes become infected by bacteria present on your child’s skin.

Five Head lice myths debunked
1 Head lice don’t jump or fly, they can only crawl so spread by direct contact with an infested person’s hair.

2 Head lice are not exclusive to school-aged children, other family members can get them too.

3 Pets do not spread lice.

4 Hairbrushes and combs do not transmit head lice from one person to another.

5 Head lice do not carry diseases.

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