How to Effectively Treat Head Lice

Head lice are not something that you want to deal with, as they are often hard to get rid of and something that is quite embarrassing to admit to. Head lice are classified as contagious parasites and it is something that many people have had to deal with; knowing what exactly head lice is and how to treat is will make the whole process easier to manage and to control.

Head Lice Treatment

Firstly, it is important to remember that head lice do not spread any diseases. Also, keep in mind that anyone can get lice and this is not an indication of poor hygiene at all. Lice can spread easily between people, especially if their hair comes in direct contact with each other. This is often the case in schools, as children play closely together, allowing lice to spread from one child to the next.  Lice can also spread by sharing items such as hats, scarfs and helmets, so care should be taken with these. It is often common for people to share brushes and combs but unfortunately, this is one of the easiest ways for lice to spread from one person to the next. Always make sure that you have your own hair accessories and equipment, especially when it comes to taking part in sporting activities.

How to Treat Head Lice

There are many different treatments for head lice, and often these treatments will need to be applied twice in order to be effective. The second treatment is usually applied roughly a week after the first one, to kill any new nits that might have hatched after the first treatment.

There are different medications available, including over-the-counter treatments, and prescription treatments. Two of the most common treatments used for head lice include Pyrethrin and Permethrin. Pyrethrin is a pesticide that is approved for people older than two years. Keep in mind that you should not use Pyrethrin if you are allergic to chrysanthemums or ragweed. Permethrin, or Nix, is a synthetic pesticide that is approved for people older than two months. Both of these treatments are very effective.

If you want to use prescription treatments, you can use benzyl alcohol lotion, Malathion, or Lindane. Always remember not to use more than one treatment at a time and make sure that you or your child doesn’t have any allergies to these treatments. To reduce possible side effects, make sure that you only use the treatments as directed, especially on young children.

Treating Your Home

Since head lice cannot survive more than a few days on their own, there is no need to use pesticides in and around the home. The first thing you need to do is to wash all bedding and clothing in hot water, at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit or more. You can also dry them in dryer with a high heat setting. You can dry clean the clothing and bedding items that you cannot wash on your own, just make sure to let them know why you are sending these items in for a dry clean.

In addition to your clothing and bedding, be sure to vacuum all your floors an upholstery. You also need to soak your hair brushes, combs and other accessories in hot water for at least 15 minutes.

With proper treatment you can get rid of head lice easily, but make sure that you don’t get re-infected in future by avoiding contact with other infected people, and keeping your hair accessories, bedding and clothing clean at all times.

Image Credit: Flickr

Lorien Roux

I am a writer for, offering expert health advice from qualified professionals and experienced contributors.

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