Head lice are an unwelcome visitor in most households, but it seems these pesky little critters are also having an impact on the economy.
A new survey shows head lice are costing Northern Ireland a whooping £8.6m a year, with parents taking 97,120 days off work and children missing 62,327 days from school as a result of the problem.
Just 22% of parents in Northern Ireland said they check their children’s heads once a week. Parents of children aged four to seven are the most vigilent, but still only 50% do a weekly inspection, according to the survey by market research firm, Ipsos Mori.
A further 9% say they only check when they notice their youngster scratching, and 7% need the nudge of a school letter warning of a lice infestation to get the comb out.
Mums and dads are being warned to address the problem early. Not sure how? Here are five ways to prevent head lice infection.