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Yeugh - nits and lice are unpleasant, but don't panic if your children develop an infestation! Lice spread easily between children playing in groups so unfortunately, infestations aren't uncommon. Nits are the eggs that hatch into lice. The first you may hear is by note from your nursery that lice are going round, or of course you may notice your children scratching their heads as they sooth bites from lice. Lice don't fly or jump but they crawl quickly making them difficult to spot. Use a fine comb to see if your child is suffering from nits - a fine comb will help to pull them out and help you to confirm an infestation.
You can buy lice shampoos to treat the critters at any pharmacy. Lice lay eggs which hatch in 7 - 10 days, and then in a further 7 - 10 days, the young lice grow into adults and will start laying their own eggs. To remove them with shampoo, you will need to apply once at the first sign of infestation, and then once more around 7 days later when any existing eggs have hatched - shampoo doesn't treat nits (the eggs), only the lice. Further applications may be required either because the treatment didn't work, or your child may become reinfected from their nursery groups.
You should also wash any items that your child's head has had contact with since the infestation. Wash their bedding to remove lice from that, and wash anything else that their head may have come into contact with in the run up to the infestation.
The whole idea of nits and lice is pretty unpleasant, but it's a fact of growing up, so be aware that your child may get infected, keep a lookout for early signs, and don't panic if your child gets infected. Millions of other children are in the same situation and there are no long term effects.