Munson Health
 
Head Lice

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by Hellwig J

(Pediculosis)

 

Treatment

Treating head lice involves removing eggs and killing lice so that they can't continue to lay eggs. Treatment may be difficult because in some regions lice have become resistant to many of the commonly used medicines. Some experts recommend that treatment be given only when live adult lice are seen.
Methods include:
  • Applying over-the-counter shampoo containing the insecticide permethrin. It is very important to use medicines as directed. Retreatment at 7-10 days is usually required to kill any lice that hatch from unremoved eggs.
  • Removing lice on the eyelashes, which may be difficult. Tweezers can be used to pick them off. Vaseline may be used to coat the eyelashes and kill the lice.
  • Unless instructed otherwise, remove eggs manually with specially designed combs. Eggs stick firmly to hair. Products such as “Clear," which loosen the eggs, may assist in removal.

Over-the-Counter Medication

Most cases of head lice can be treated with over-the-counter preparations. However, there is increasing resistance to the medicines permethrin and pyrethrin in the United States. There are other treatments that may be effective, like herbal remedies that contain coconut oil and anise.
 

RESOURCES

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
http://www.cdc.gov/

Kids Health
http://kidshealth.org/

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Caring for Kids
http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/

Communicable Disease Control (CDC) Network
Province of Manitoba
http://www.gov.mb.ca/

 

References


Lindane shampoo and lindane lotion. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm110452.htm . Updated June 2009. Accessed July 6, 2009.


Medication guide lindane lotion. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/UCM133687.pdf . Updated August 2007. Accessed July 6, 2009.


Medication guide lindane shampoo. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/UCM133688.pdf . Updated August 2007. Accessed July 6, 2009.


National Pediculosis Association, Inc. website. Available at: http://www.headlice.org . Accessed July 6, 2009.


Rapini RP. Parasitic infestations. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org/education/students/parainfest.htm . Accessed July 6, 2009.


Revised lindane lotion label. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda%5Fdocs/label/2003/006309lotionlbl.pdf . Accessed July 6, 2009.


Revised lindane shampoo label. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda%5Fdocs/label/2003/006309shampoolbl.pdf . Accessed July 6, 2009.


Roberts RJ. Clinical practice. Head lice. N Engl J Med . 2002;347(17):1381-1382.


12/14/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Burgess IF, Brunton ER, Burgess NA. Clinical trial showing superiority of a coconut and anise spray over permethrin 0.43% lotion for head louse infestation, ISRCTN96469780. Eur J Pediatr. 2010;169(1):55-62.


11/26/2012 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Pariser D, Meinking T, Bell M, et al. Topical 0.5% Ivermectin Lotion for Treatment of Head Lice. N Engl J Med. 2012; 367:1687.

 

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