Schools will face a head lice epidemic this winter due to the NHS axing treatments، a charity has warned، as the Daily Mail said. A change in guidance، which was rolled out over the summer to save the NHS £100 million a year، means GPs cannot routinely prescribe nit treatments that cost the health service just £4.92 a time. This will cause head lice to become increasingly common in schools، particularly in low-income areas، according to the charity Community Hygiene Concern (CHC). Over-the-counter head lice treatments can cost as much as £13 per application. It is often also necessary to treat the entire family. More children and their families will have head lice in the future. That’s just common sense،' CHC spokeswoman Frances Fry said. 'Not everyone can afford to repeatedly buy head-lice treatments، which are very، very expensive and can be ineffective.' Head lice outbreaks usually peak in autumn when children go back to school. This is when GPs would usually prescribe hundreds of the CHC's Bug Buster kits. These include different sized combs that remove lice and nits - their empty eggs - without pesticides. Since GPs were told to stop issuing such treatments، prescriptions have fallen by 90 per cent، CHC said. And some 98 per cent of head lice are resistant to over-the-counter chemical treatments، previous research has found. The parasites are also becoming more common with nearly half of children in the UK having had a head-lice infestation over the past five years، compared to as little as two per cent before. As the problem is set to continue، schools may become inundated with head-lice cases. 'Children whose parents cannot afford the treatments will be victimised and bullied،' Ms Fry said. Head lice are tiny insects which live and lay their eggs in hair. Their empty egg cases which stick to hair are known as 'nits'. Lice، which can be treated by an over-the-counter medication، quickly multiply and can cause itching and inflammation of the scalp.