Table of Contents
- Head lice facts
- What are head lice?
- How common is head lice infestation?
- Who is at risk for getting head lice?
- How in the world does a child get head lice?
- Does getting an infection with head lice mean that the person has poor hygiene?
- What do head lice look like? What is the life cycle of head lice?
- Where are head lice most commonly found?
- Head lice vs. dandruff
- What are the signs and symptoms of head lice infestation?
- How is a head lice infestation diagnosed?
- Does a black light help to diagnose lice infections?
- What is the treatment for a head lice infestation (pediculosis)?
- What is the treatment for a head lice infestation (pediculosis)? (Continued)
- My child has head lice. I don't. Should I treat myself to prevent being infested?
- Should my pets be treated for head lice?
- My child is under 2 years of age and has been diagnosed with head lice. Can I treat my child with prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs?
- What OTC medications are available to treat head lice?
- What prescription drugs treat head lice?
- Are any home remedies effective at getting rid of head lice?
- Which head lice medicine is best for me?
- What are the rules with head lice medicines?
- Is it possible to prevent head lice?
- Should household sprays be used to kill adult lice?
- Should I have a pest-control company spray my house to get rid of lice?
- What is the prognosis of a head lice infestation?
Quick GuideLice & Nits: How to Get Rid of Head Lice
Are any home remedies effective at getting rid of head lice?
Occlusion therapy, nit combing, and hair removal have not been proven to be fully effective in completely eradicating head lice.
Home remedies that have been tried include vinegar, mayonnaise, petroleum jelly, olive oil, butter, rubbing alcohol, and prolonged water submersion. These all fail to eliminate infestation, because these therapies do not kill all of the eggs or lice. This is believed due to the specialized way the parasite "breathes."
Hair removal has never been proven to be effective, but since the louse requires a hair shaft to lay its eggs, it should prevent the lice from multiplying. This is not always considered a desirable option for many children.
Which head lice medicine is best for me?
If unsure, please consult with a pharmacist or health-care professional.
What are the rules with head lice medicines?
When using head lice medicine, as with any medicine, always follow the instructions provided.
When treating head lice,
- do not use extra amounts of the lice medication,
- do not treat the infested person more than two times with the same medication (if it does not seem to work, see a health-care professional),
- do not mix different head-lice medications.
American Academy of Pediatrics. "Pediculosis Capitis (Head Lice)." Red Book, 30th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2015.
Chosidow, O. "Oral Ivermectin Versus Malathion Lotion for Difficult-to-Treat Head Lice." New England Journal of Medicine 362 Mar. 2010: 896-905.
Devore, C.D., G. Schutze, J. Okamoto, M. Allison, R. Ancona, E. Attisha, and M. Minier. "Head lice." Pediatrics 135.5 (2015): e1355-e1365.
Feldmeier, H. "Treatment of pediculosis capitis: a critical appraisal of the current literature." American Journal of Clinical Dermatology 15.5 (2014): 401-412.
United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Head Lice." Dec. 28, 2016. <https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/>.
4."Male human head louse" by Gilles San Martin
6."Bugbuster" by Thanks for the polite permission of the Community Hygiene Concern, Joanna Ibarra