Q: My child has head lice. How should I treat it?
A: Lice infestation is suspected in a child who has excessive itching on the scalp. Presence of nits (eggs) and lice in the hair confirms the diagnosis.
Treatment of head lice includes not only treatment of the infested person but also treatment of infested family members and by cleaning the house.
Treatment of infested person : - Apply lice medication called pediculicide according to instructions on the bottle. Before applying on the hair, remove all the clothing. (Remember not to use a shampoo before using lice medicine and also do not wash the hair for 1-2 days after treatment). After 8-10 hours after treatment, comb the remaining dead and live lice out of the hair. Nits are often removed with a special nit comb. The hair and the comb should be checked every 2-3 days for 2-3 weeks till you are sure that all lice and nits have disappeared.
Some lice medications like pyrethrins, permethrin and lindane may require retreatment after 7-10 days.
Cleaning of house :- To kill all nits and lice, wash all washable clothes & bed linen that the infested person touched during the 2 days before treatment with hot water. Dry-clean the other clothes. Stuffed animals, comforters etc. that can not be washed or dry-cleaned have to be sealed in a plastic bag for 2 weeks.
Combs and brushes are washed with soap and hot water. The house is swept & dusted properly.
Q: How do I prevent my child from getting lice infestation again?
A: Lice usually occur in children during school and play activities. Head tohead contact is the most common mode of transmission. By avoiding head- to-head contact, not sharing infested combs, brushes, towels, hats etc can minimize the contact.
Q: Is it necessary to treat everyone in the house if my child has head lice?
A: Although everyone has risk of lice infestation, treatment to all is not necessary. Check household people for lice and nits every 2-3 days and treat only if crawling lice or nits are found within 1cm of scalp.
Q: Can lice infestation occur in younger children ?
A: Lice infestation can occur even in children less than 2 years. Instead of using over the counter medicines, remove the nits and lice manually by hand. If this does not work, consult your doctor for further treatment.
Q: Which are the medications used to treat lice infestation?
A: Products containing pyrethrins, permethrin, Malathion and lindane are commonly used to treat lice infestation. They are available either as shampoo or as oil based solution. Lindane should be used with caution in children weighing less than 110 pounds.
Last created on 15-08-2006