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Head Lice

Please click the frequently asked questions below for further information and IPC precautions required:

  • What are Head Lice?

    Head lice, Pediculus humanus capitis, are tiny parasitic insects that live in hair. They can cause infestation of the scalp known as Pediculosis capitis.

    Head lice hatch from eggs and the sacs left behind are known as ‘nits’ which attach firmly to the hair shaft. Nits are more visible to the naked eye than live lice.

  • How does it spread?

    They are spread by direct head-to-head contact and are a common problem particularly in children aged 4 to 11. Child care settings e.g. schools, nurseries are high risk areas for transmission.

  • What are the symptoms of Head Lice?

    Symptoms include itching, a tickling feeling in hair, difficulty sleeping and sores on the head secondary to scratching.

  • Why is this important?

    If NIAS staff are aware that the patient has a suspected or confirmed case this should be communicated to the Control Room (Emergency or Non-emergency as appropriate) and the staff in the receiving unit when transferring the patient to ensure effective patient care and management.

  • IPC Precautions
    • Contact precautions should be used
    • Hand Hygiene should be completed as per the 5 moments in line with usual practice.
    • Eye protection should be risk assessed for any concern regarding a splash risk.
    • Gloves and Aprons should be worn.
    • The patient should be transported via ambulance with no other patients present.
    • Laundry should be treated as contaminated, placed into an alginate bag and placed into a red laundry bag.
  • What cleaning is required?

    All equipment and the ambulance should have an in-between patient clean, paying particular attention to touch points.

  • Do staff need prophylaxis or follow up?

    No staff follow up required.