Head lice --- tiny, parasitic insects that thrive on blood from your scalp --- are a common, itchy problem. In addition to intense itching, they may cause red bumps. Lice are often spread through close contact or sharing personal items with an infected person. Children ages 3 to 11 and their families are most likely to get head lice, according to the National Institutes of Health. Use the appropriate medications and clean your home thoroughly to eliminate the problem.
Things You'll Need
- Shampoo containing pyrethrin or permethrin
- Nit comb
Use a shampoo containing either pyrethrin or permethrin. Follow the directions closely. If the infested person has long hair, you may need to use a second bottle.
Consult your doctor if over-the-counter preparations don't work after eight to 12 hours. Your doctor may prescribe alternative medicated shampoos or lotions.
Check the hair and comb with a nit comb, often found in lice medicine packages, every two or three days to prevent self-reinfestation. Continue to check for two to three weeks to make sure all lice are gone.
Re-treat nine days after the original treatment with the medicated lotion or shampoo that your doctor gave you to kill any surviving hatched lice before they produce new eggs. If you used the prescription drug malathion, re-treat after seven to nine days only if lice are found.
Wash stuffed animals, bedding, clothing, hats, scarves, pillowcases and towels with hot, soapy water with a temperature of at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit, then dry them at high heat for at least 20 minutes. Do so as soon as lice are detected. Soak brushes and combs in very hot water for five to 10 minutes. Lice eggs are killed by exposure for five minutes to temperatures greater than 128 F, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Store unwashable items in an airtight bag for three or four days. Lice die if they can't eat.
Vacuum all floors in the home thoroughly. Do not use fumigant sprays because they may be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
Tips & Warnings
- If you or your child have lice, examine family members and close contacts for lice as well.
- Do not use a combination shampoo/conditioner or conditioner before using lice medicine. Don't wash the hair for one to two days after using the lice medicine.
- Don't use insecticide medications on children under age 2. Instead, remove the lice from wet hair with a fine-toothed or nit comb and repeat every three or four days for at least two weeks.
- Do not use different head lice drugs at the same time unless your doctor recommends it.
- Photo Credit child's hair in pig tails / girl image by Katrina Miller from Fotolia.com
How to Treat Head Lice With Vinegar
Lice can be very difficult to rid from someone's head. There are hundreds of remedies for lice removal and treatment, but only...
- How to Get Rid of Lice Forever
How to Get Rid of Body Lice
Body lice are parasites that spend most of their lives on the clothes of an infested person. The lice will usually get...
How to Get Rid of Head Lice - For Good
So, you've tried over-the-counter lice shampoos until you're blue in the face. You're thinking of shaving all that hair off just to...
How to Clean Your House After a Case of Head Lice
It's necessary to clean your house after a case of head lice to prevent a second infestation. Head lice can get into...
How to Kill Lice in the Carpet
Lice infestations can temporarily take over your house. Although lice live on people, they can jump from a person into various places...
How to Rid Your Home of Head Lice
Infestation of tiny insects called head lice is common in elementary school children and is extremely contagious. A head lice infestation in...
How to Get Rid of Head Lice Completely
Getting rid of head lice not only includes treating the lice on the head, but items that have come in contact with...
How to Completely Get Rid of a Head-Lice Infestation
Parents and caregivers hear that a child has head lice and immediately wonder if the entire house and everyone in it shares...