What you need to do immediately when you get the dreaded head lice email

Emmy Samtani

Emmy Samtani

Emmy is the founder of Kiindred and mother to 3 little ones. Over the last 4 years, she has worked with some of the most credible experts in the parenting space and is a keen contributor on all things parenthood.
Updated on Jun 14, 2024 · 5 mins read
What you need to do immediately when you get the dreaded head lice email

There are a few school emails no parent wants to hit their inbox. Reports of slipping grades, a bit too much sass, or a school carnival you completely blanked on can all make for a stress-inducing notification.

But the one that pretty much takes the “stomach drop” cake is that head lice message. Whilst everything in you might want to crawl under a blanket and pretend it’s not happening, it’s essential that you get onto that stuff stat. 

Here’s what you need to do immediately when you get that dreaded head lice email (hint: it’s not stop, drop, and roll), and how physical treatments like V-COMB ensure you can exile those little critters ASAP. 

The nitty gritty of head lice

Head lice are tiny, wingless insects that live in the hair on your scalp, feeding on blood and laying eggs (known as nits). They generally jump from head to head, and don’t live for long outside of that since they need heat and blood to survive. That’s good news if you’re nervous about them crawling around the house, but not so good if your child loves tackling their friends at school. 

What to do when you get the head lice email

1. Deep breaths

They might be disgusting to think about, but there’s nothing life-threatening about a bit of head lice. Itching, scratching, and discomfort aren’t pleasant, but with effective treatment, those symptoms will be over in no time. Consider yourself the head lice terminator, and take charge of those pesky parasites.

2. Explain head lice to your child (nicely)

If even grown-ups get freaked out by head lice, you can imagine how kids feel. So before brushing their hair like there’s no tomorrow, sit your kid down and explain what you’re looking for. Start by asking them open questions like:

✔️ What do you know about head lice?
✔️ Is there anything that makes you worried?
✔️ How do you think someone feels when they have head lice?

These questions can gauge what their understanding is, where they might need some reassurance, and any preconceived ideas they might have about  people that get head lice. There’s a lot of misconception that anyone with head lice is dirty or messy, and that isn’t the case. Make sure to emphasise that getting head lice is no one’s fault.

Steer clear of “they feed off our blood” comments, and try to keep things light-hearted. 

3. Get out the comb (or the V-COMB)

Next, it’s time to check! You can go the old-school route by using a comb and conditioner in dry, brushed hair. This makes it harder for the head lice to run around or stick to strands. Brush through sections, wiping the comb with a paper towel or tissue to see if any lice appear. Head lice eggs are pinhead-sized and oval-shaped, whereas lice will look like a tiny, light brown insect. 

But this can be a major headache (pun intended), so for an easier option you can use the V-COMB A1 – a rechargeable electric device that acts as both a treatment and detection tool. We’ll get into the product more soon, but it features a transparent chamber and capture filter that shows you any head lice getting sucked up. So you can spot the offenders and treat them with a single tool. 

4. Treatment

The sooner you get rid of head lice, the better. There are two main types of head lice treatment: chemical or physical. 

Chemical treatments typically involve insecticide, and can be bought over-the- counter (usually in the form of a shampoo) or by prescription. Most over-the-counter treatments don’t target lice eggs, so there may need to be a few applications over the weeks. They can also be harsh for some scalps, and occasionally cause reactions. 

In comparison, physical treatments require mechanical removement of head lice. According to research, these are the preferred method of treatment for effectiveness, safety, and combatting insecticide resistance.

Super lice and insecticide resistance 

It’s become common for head lice to have a resistance to chemical treatments, and these are sometimes referred to as “super lice.” Super lice present the exact same as normal head lice, so being drug-resistant is their only distinguishing feature. 

Physical treatments still remove these big shots effectively, and without contributing to the immunity problem. 

Our preferred physical treatment is the V-COMB A1. It’s an allergen-and chemical-free treatment device with stainless steel combing teeth and suction power to remove even the stubbornest eggs and super lice. The offending insects are zapped into a disposable (and sealed)  capture filter, which you can just pop straight into the bin. It’s mess-free, easy on sensitive skin, and extremely thorough. 

For the utmost convenience, its compact design makes it portable so that even the busiest families can use it on the go. 

And just like that, the scary school email isn’t such a big deal. 

5. Prevention 

Whether you’ve had to treat your child for head lice, or they’ve managed to dodge it this time, there are practical steps to make sure any school infestations leave them alone. 

Can my child with head lice go to school?

Australian government guidelines ensure that no child should be excluded from school because of head lice. Your school will send you a letter if there’s a suspected outbreak and ask that you check your child for school, but they won’t be held back from attending. 


NSW Department of Education (2024). Head lice.
Available at: https://education.nsw.gov.au/schooling/parents-and-carers/health-and-physical-care/health-care-procedures/conditions/head-lice#:~:text=Advice%20from%20NSW%20Health%20indicates,school%20because%20of%20head%20lice

Queensland Department of Health (2023). Head lice, Children’s Health Queensland.
Available at: https://www.childrens.health.qld.gov.au/health-a-to-z/head-lice 

Victorian Department of Health & Human Services. Head lice (nits), Better Health Channel.
Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/head-lice-nits 

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