What is the treatment of head lice infestation?
Getting rid of lice completely is a troublesome process and needs patience.
A head lice infestation will usually take about 4 to 6 weeks to clear up even with treatment.
The doctor will initially advise using over-the-counter (OTC) products that kill lice and some of the nits in the scalp of the child. The instructions written on the bottle or product information leaflet should be read before using the product.
- Permethrin 1% (Nix): This medication is available in the form of lotion, which needs to be applied to the hair for 10 minutes followed by hair wash. It kills only the lice and not the nits. Hence, the application needs to be repeated after 9 to 10 days to kill the hatched eggs before they can produce new eggs.
- Pyrethrin in combination with piperonyl butoxide (A–200, Pronto, R&C, Rid, Triple X)
After applying any of the OTC lotions, it is necessary to comb the hair from the roots to the tips to remove any lice. This should be done once in a day to remove all the dead lice and their eggs.
If OTC medicines have failed to eliminate the lice, the doctor may recommend any of the prescription medicines that include:
- Ivermectin (Sklice)
- Spinosad (Natroba)
All the members of the family need to be treated because they may have been infested with head lice as well. The other general measures to stop the spread within the family/house include:
- Use of the hot water cycle of the washing machine to wash clothes
- Dry cleaning of the clothing that is not washable (coats, hats, scarves, etc.)
- Storing or dry cleaning all clothing (such as comforters), which cannot be washed, and then placing them into a sealed plastic bag and keeping them away for at least 2 weeks
- Soaking combs and brushes for 1 hour in rubbing alcohol or washing it with soap and hot water
- Vacuuming the floor and all the furniture in the house