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A message for Health Providers

Why is Bug Busting wet combing special?

Prescription of the Bug Buster Kit

Data sheet

How well do the different treatments work?

Why the 'nit nurse' cannot solve the head louse problem


Why is Bug Busting wet combing special?

To help parents and healthcare providers achieve a lasting solution to the persistent problem of head lice and nits, our charity developed the original Bug Busting wet combing method. Reliable detection, even when there are only a few lice present, and even in really curly hair, became possible. The unique, bevel-edged teeth of the Bug Buster and Nit Buster combs work brilliantly with gentle shampoo and hair conditioner. For treatment, there is no dependence on louse-killing formulated products. Instead, the Bug Buster Kit instructions explain precisely how you can simply break the life-cycle by periodically removing lice over the hatching period. Simultaneously you learn how to recognize any new incoming lice. No lotion can tell you if you have caught more egg-laying lice between doses. None can guarantee complete egg-kill. Since it became available, the UK Department of Health has advised use of a Bug Buster Kit alone as a treatment alternative to lotions, and that these should be combined with wet combing checks after use.


Prescription of the Bug Buster Kit

The Bug Buster Kit is a registered medical device on free NHS prescription for children since September 2002.

The Kit is no longer mentioned by name in the British National Formulary and non medical prescribers' formularies, because it is an appliance and currently only drugs are listed. This does not affect it's legitimacy for NHS prescription. On the prescription you are required to write 'Bug Buster Kit x 1'. Pharmacies can obtain supplies from AAH (pip code: 233-1783) or direct from CHC (tel: 01908 261501)   You can find the Kit and DVD on our Products page.


Data sheet


BUG BUSTER® KIT for reliable detection and treatment of head lice without medication, and comfortable removal of nits


Head Lice Device

The Bug Buster Kit contains 3 Bug Buster combs, 1 Nit Buster comb, 1 wide tooth comb, a protective cape, and full instructions on the detection and treatment of head lice using the Bug Busting® wet combing method and subsequent Nit Busting to remove unsightly nits.


The Bug Buster Kit works in combination with ordinary shampoo and ordinary hair conditioner – no additional medicated product is required.


It is reusable by a whole family for louse detection and treatment of infestation.


Clinical particulars – therapeutic indications

To detect and remedy head infestation by systematic elimination of head lice, and, if desired, easy nit removal for cosmetic purposes.


Method of administration

Wash hair with usual shampoo, rinse, apply hair conditioner generously, untangle and straighten hair with wide tooth comb. Pass a Bug Buster comb from roots to tips, section by section, until no more lice are found. Clear the comb of lice between strokes, by wiping both sides on paper towel or rinsing. Typically the time required to cover the whole head ranges from 2 minutes for short, straight hair to 30 minutes for long, frizzy hair. Rinse off conditioner and comb wet hair again with a Bug Buster comb and then the Nit Buster comb. Repeat 3 times at half weekly intervals (a total of 4 sessions in 2 weeks). If re-infestation occurs, recognisable by the presence of full-grown lice at session 2, 3 or 4, continue for a further 3 sessions from their detection.

Also used to check the efficacy of any treatment choice 5, 9 and 12/13 days after application.


Marketing authorisation

Registered medical device, ref: CA 006936, 3 May 2001

Sept 2002 Drug Tariff, Part IXA (available on NHS prescription even if not mentioned by name in some editions of the BNF or other formularies, because it is an appliance)


Pip code: 233-1783

Net NHS price = £4.76 from October 2012


Support service

A Help Line service on 01908 561928, provides one-to-one support. A demonstration DVD may be purchased from Community Hygiene Concern. Pre-view at www.chc.org



Produced on a non-profit making basis by:

Community Hygiene Concern, registered charity no: 801371

Unit 22, Darin Court, Crownhill, Milton Keynes, MK8 0AD

Internet: www.chc.org Email: bugbusters2k@yahoo.co.uk

Sales / Fax: 01908 261501                                                                           October 2012



How well do the different treatments work?

An authoritative review of the effectiveness of current treatments for head lice was published in the Drug & Therapeutics Bulletin (Does dimeticone clear head lice? Drug Ther Bull 1 July 2007 45(7): p52-55). The full text is available via Infotrieve here. Read our summary and comments here.

A Bug Buster Kit alone proved four times more effective than neuro-toxic insecticide treatment for head lice in a randomised controlled trial, when parents followed the respective product instructions. The primary findings were reported in BMJ, Online First on 5 August 2005. Most families re-used their original Bug Buster Kit for detection and cure during a whole year (report to the International Congress on Lice, Argentina, October 2006). This independent study, led by Dr Nigel Hill of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, was funded by a Big Lottery Fund research grant
find out more

"For a balanced approach to all methods of eradication – chemical and combing – the best site I found was www.chc.org/bugbusting" Vass A. Website of the week, head lice. BMJ 2001;323:1136


Why the 'nit nurse' cannot solve the head louse problem


Bug Busters want to get rid of head lice as much as those campaigning for the return of ‘nit nurse’ inspections in school.  So we tested school nurse-style inspection v. parents using a Bug Buster Kit. We confronted epidemic levels of head lice amongst primary schoolchildren (first and middle school, aged 4-13 years).

Visual inspection results

With the parents’ consent, our staff checked 245 pupils in school using the traditional visual method, systematically parting the dry hair with their fingers and looking for evidence of head lice.

Bug Buster Kit results

No indication was given to the children themselves of the results of the inspection. All pupils in school that day were given a fun sticker and a Bug Buster Kit for use at home in the evening.

Why the Bug Busting way is better

What the school nurse can do

In the UK, each school nurse is looking after at least 3,000 schoolchildren – she simply has not the time to search through their wet, conditioned hair for head lice. Her role is to make sure that her schools are aware of the Bug Busting head louse detection programme and to arrange support for the few families who cannot learn to use a Bug Buster Kit. Increasingly school nurses may write NHS prescriptions for Bug Buster Kits, which are filled free when children need treatment for head lice.



Ibarra J, Fry F, Wickenden C, Olsen A, Vander Stichele RH, Lapeere H, Jenner M. Franks A.  (2007) Overcoming health inequalities by using the Bug Busting ‘whole-school approach’ to eradicate head lice. Journal of Clinical Nursing 16: 1955-1965


28 October 2008

Schoolnitnurse - epetition response

The Prime Minister received a petition asking:

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to bring back the School Nit Nurse.”

The Government’s response:

"We appreciate your concerns about infestations of head lice in schools.

The Department of Health’s advice is that inspections by school nurses may not be sufficient to identify all cases of head lice in a school’s population.  It is for schools to decide how best to deal with infestations of head lice.  Exclusion of children with head lice is unlikely to be helpful and many schools prefer a “whole school” approach whereby all parents check their children and family members on the same evening.

It is for Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and their partners to determine, on the basis of local health needs assessment, how many school nurses there should be or how they should be deployed. However, the Public Health White Paper, Choosing Health published in November 2004 made the commitment to provide new funding so that by 2010 every PCT, working with children’s trusts and local authorities, would be resourced to have at least one full-time, year-round, qualified school nurse working with each cluster or group of primary schools and the related secondary school.”

Source: www.number10.gov.uk/Page17301

Further reading materials available on our Products page

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