THERE have been calls for the return of Nitty Nora the Nit Nurse after the dreaded head lice has made a return.
Apparently, more than half all four to 11-year-olds can expect to become infected. And the little swine – the lice, not the kids – are getting more resistant to the usual treatments.
Ian Burgess, director of the Medical Entomology Centre, said: “Britain is the only place in the world that I know of where you have quite such a level of resistance to insecticides.”
This is a problem that many thought was long gone. But central heating and bad weather, which kept youngsters indoors last summer, gives them perfect conditions in which to thrive.
Anyone can get them but it is usually children who are most infected. The lice crawl from head to head and children are vulnerable because they are in close contact with youngsters at school.
So how best to tackle the problem?
A fine toothed nit comb is advised. Dowse the hair in conditioner, so the nits lose their grip, and comb them out. And get advice from the chemist. While traditional shampoos and lotions may not be as effective, new products kill lice by physically coating them in liquid and drowning them or dehydrating them, rather than poisoning them.
Sounds terrible, doesn't it, but need must.
Having nits is a rite of passage for most children and carries no stigma. In fact, our younger daughter Sian was delighted when we told her she had them when she was about five.
“What? You mean I've got my own pets?”
They still had to go, though.