Chronic Head Lice Treatment Options
Head lice are minute wingless parasites; they are a seed-size insect that lives in the scalp of an individual and feeds off her blood. More common in girls than boys, head lice are a major problem for children between 3 and 12 years old, according to the Kids Health website. Head lice can be treated using a special medicine designed to kill the lice and their eggs called a pediculicide, which can be obtained through a prescription from a doctor or over-the-counter.
Be certain to follow the medication’s directions to the letter. Pediculicides are basically insecticides, so it is vital to do as the directions say. The treatment will not be successful if the directions are not paid attention to, and applying more of the medication than the directions call for can possibly be harmful.
Remove any clothing that could potentially be stained by the medication before applying it. Have the person being treated for head lice change into old clothes that are expendable in case they become stained.
Apply the medication exactly according to the label and leave it on the person’s hair and head for the time allotted by the instructions. Do not wash the person’s hair beforehand or apply anything such as a crème rinse or conditioner, and do not rewash her hair for 1 or 2 full days after applying the medicine.
Rinse the medication off and put on clean clothing. Check the head of the person after 8 to 12 hours for signs of moving lice. Using a fine-toothed comb, carefully comb out any remaining lice.
Retreat the hair after 9 or 10 days to eliminate any lice that may have hatched from eggs that the previous lice may have laid. Retreating the head at this time kills these lice before they have had a chance to lay eggs. Every 3 to 4 days, use the fine-toothed comb to comb out any lice eggs that may remain behind.
Avoid the possibility of a reinfestation of head lice by machine washing bed linens, towels, clothing and anything else that the person may have worn or come into close contact with. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the water temperature needs to be at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the lice and their eggs. Dry such items on the high heat cycle. If clothing cannot be washed by machine, it can be dry-cleaned and sealed in a bag for at least 2 weeks.
Soak any combs used on the person in 130 degree water for 10 minutes to kill any lice or eggs on them. Thoroughly vacuum the area where the person normally sits or sleeps. The CDC asserts that head lice die within 1 or 2 days after falling off a person and that the eggs do not hatch unless in contact with a live host, but vacuuming lice up is an extra safety precaution.