Here are Your Options When it Comes to Treating Head Lice
You do have options whent it comes to lice treatment. If you are here you’ve probably been trying to go it alone and have been unsuccesful. It’s okay, it’s not your fault. If you are using OTC (over the counter products) they are no longer effective at killing the bugs, the lice have become resistent to permethrin, the pesticide in Nix and Rid and are no longer effective at killing live lice.
Lice meticulously secrete and glue their eggs to our hair strands, about a 1/4 of an inch from our scalp. It’s very difficult to remove the eggs without the proper product and tools and these don’t come in anything you can buy OTC. There are 2 main reasons you can’t get rid of lice:
1. You don’t have the proper tools or product or 2. You aren’t checking all family and extended family members.
This is so important and often overlooked because they don’t have symptoms.
So, here are some of your options:
- Buy OTC products like Rid or Nix and try to go it alone. Some things to note: Sometimes these products can burn the scalp and it makes it more difficult to comb the child or person. Notably children, teenagers always endure treatment better from someone other than Mom or Dad.
- Call your health care provider and have them write a prescription for you. Ask them which one as mamy call in Permethrin 1-5% and if you are using an OTC you have already tried that (1%). Sklice (Ivermectin – also used to treat Scabies) is another alternative that Doctors sometimes prescribe. It comes in a lotion or a pill. Keep in mind that the Doctor will not be doing the work, you will still want to remove the lice eggs (nits). Sklice is scarce and can be very expensive even if you have insurance.
- You can try at home treatments. These treatments like the Nuvo (Cetaphil) treatment and Olive Oil use the smother technique. This technique will work but you have to do it every night over night for 3 weeks (the life cycle of the bug) Lice eggs take 7-10 days to hatch and another 7-10 days to become an adult.
All of your options are discussed in detail below. If you have any questions we offer free phone consultations. You can also join our PALS Club where your family is covered with free screenings and deeply discounted treatment options.
Unfortunately, most of these head lice treatments are difficult to use correctly, can be expensive when multiple treatments are necessary and the safety and efficacy of prescriptions have been called into question. Many parents turn to them, desperate for a shortcut to killing the lice with minimal effort. Here are your options when it comes to treating for head lice:
Treating with Prescriptions
You can call your doctor and they will prescribe the best treatment plan for you and your family. The Truth About Lice Pesticide Treatments.
“Sometimes the medicine is worse than the disease. It is unfortunate that well-intentioned parents treating their children with toxic or flammable substances have caused deaths and poisonings.” -Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health.
Many parents don’t realize that the popular, brand name lice treatments available at stores not only have ingredients that are closer to bug sprays than shampoos, they actually have higher concentrations of poison than the pest killers available for their yard!
Here’s information on lice pesticide treatments. Be sure to inquire with your physician about any side effects.
Treating with OTC’s
You can choose to treat with OTC products purchased at the local drug store such as Rid or Nix. Be aware that first, they are pesticides and secondly most lice have become resistant to these pesticides and you will often find live bugs still crawling in the hair after a treatment. You should also know that the plastic combs that come with these kits are not the most effective in helping you in your fight against lice. Read about the best lice combs This can end up being a very costly, time consuming ineffective project.
Professional Lice Treatment Service
- Permethrin 5% (brand name NIX) – this is sold over-the-counter in 1% and is a synthetic pesticide. It is considered the safest of all the pesticide-type lice shampoos.
- Ivermectin (Sklice) About $300 for 4 ounces A topical lotion for children 6 months and older and people under age 65. It claims to kill live lice but not their eggs. Possible side effects include conjunctivitis, eye irritation, dandruff, dry skin, and a burning sensation on the skin.
- Benzyl alcohol lotion (Ulesfia®) is a prescription medication approved for treating head lice. It can be used to treat children as young as six months of age. A topical lotion for children 6 months old and older (the safety for people over 60 is not established). It claims to kill live lice but not their eggs. Possible side effects include skin or eye itching, redness, and irritation. About $140 for 7.7 ounces
- Citronellyl acetate (Lycelle) About $190 for 3.4 ounces A topical gel for children 2 and up and people under age 60. It claims to kill live lice and some eggs, but not all. Possible side effects include skin or eye itching, redness, stinging, irritation, and burning.
- Spinosad (Natroba®) is a prescription medication approved for treating head lice. It can be used to treat children as young as four years of age. a topical treatment for use in children ages 4 and up, that was found to be more effective in killing lice than permethrin, according to two manufacturer-sponsored studies. And it claims to kill lice eggs. Possible side effects were minimal, including skin and eye redness or irritation. But its long-term safety is still under study, and it costs $280 for 4 ounces
- Malathion (brand name Ovide) – this pesticide is available by prescription. It is for kids 6 years and older. You may have heard of this pesticide – it is sprayed from aircraft over cities to control certain agricultural insects including fruit flies. This shampoo lotion was previously used in the U.S., then was taken off the market for a while (although it was still used in other countries), and is now recently approved again by the FDA for use in the U.S. $210 (generic) and $255 (Ovide) for 2 ounces A topical lotion for children 6 and older. This drug is flammable, so any source of heat, such as a hair dryer, could cause your child’s hair to go up in flames. Possible side effects include second-degree chemical burns. Accidental contact with eyes can result in a mild form of conjunctivitis.
- Lindane – this is another pesticide available by prescription. It is approved for children of all ages, although should be used with extreme caution in kids under 2 years. It is the most potentially toxic of all the lice shampoos.About $120 for 2 ounces This topical lotion is banned in California, and Consumers Union petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to outlaw this neurotoxic, possibly carcinogenic pesticide as a lice treatment in the early 1980s. But it’s still on the market as a prescription drug for lice despite reports of seizures and even deaths from improper use. And it’s the only lice treatment that carries a black-box warning (the worst kind).
We get a lot of questions about home remedies and in particular Cetaphil for the treatment of lice. We found how to instructions all over the internet, which are similar to all the other home remedies which may or may not work that in effect try to “smother” the lice. The difference in this suggested home remedy is that it’s suggested you blow dry the hair and leave a hard shell on the hair for 8 hours to be repeated a minimum of 3 times or as necessary. This treatment process is marketing under the name Nuvo.
Note: It’s the Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser suggested for the Cetaphil Lice Treatment – Not the lotion!
You can find specific instructions here http://nuvoforheadlice.com
But keep in mind you have to agree to a disclaimer that if it doesn’t work – tough luck and they aren’t responsible for anything else that might happen in relation to you putting Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser on your child’s head to dry.
Having dealt with head lice for over a decade we at P.A.L.S. don’t agree with many instructional items on the nuvo website so we are not advocates of this process.
If you have head lice questions please feel free to give us a call we offer free lice consultations. 757-769-8639 Immediate assistance or the PALS information hotline at 833-725-7257
The following are several common reasons why treatment for head lice may fail sometimes when using an OTC (over the counter product):
- Misdiagnosis. The symptoms are not caused by an active head lice infestation.
- Applying an OTC product like Rid or Nix to hair that has been washed with conditioning shampoo or rinsed with hair conditioner. Conditioners can act as a barrier that keeps the head lice medicine from adhering to the hair shafts; this can reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. (follow instructions carefully)
- Not following carefully the instructions for the treatment that is used. Some examples of this include not applying a second treatment if instructed to do so, or retreating too soon after the first treatment before all the nits are hatched and the newly hatched head lice can be killed. Another reason is retreating too late after new eggs have already been deposited.
- Resistance of the head lice to the treatment used. The head lice may have become resistant to the treatment. If the treatment used does not kill the head lice, your health care provider and pharmacist can help you be sure the treatment was used correctly and may recommend a completely different product if they think the head lice are resistant to the first treatment.
- Re-infestation. The person was treated successfully and the lice were eliminated, but then the person becomes infected again by lice spread from another infected person. Sometimes re-shampooing the hair too soon (less than 2 days) after correctly applying and removing permethrin can reduce or eliminate any residual (continued) killing effect on the lice.
The advantages of calling a lice removal service is that not only do they eliminate head lice they also offer emotional support during a trying time by demystifying the process. While lice removal services may seem more expensive than purchasing an over the counter head lice treatment product, parents who hire lice professionals often end up spending less than those who don’t. See Lice Removal Costs
When you hire a professional head lice removal company like Let’s Be P.A.L.S you are also paying for education. We know every single thing you could ever know about head lice. Including their physical characteristics, breeding habits, and life cycle. We are professionals and we have been trained and treating lice effectively for decades.
We have seen thousands of cases of head lice and there is not a single person who would not benefit from using our services or picking our brains. Most head liceprofessional offer a 30 day guarantee and a lifetime of knowledge about lice to share with you for early detection and prevention. See Lice Companies in Virginia Beach
Here’s what our customers are saying:
Quick, professional, and it’s obvious that they truly care. … Great follow-up with nicely detailed instructions…Just great..I will definitely use their service again it was worth every penny but hopefully won’t have too! ….Thanks so much!
Do not waste your money on expensive lice shampoos and creams that don’t work. Just call Let’s Be PALS and they’ll be there and thoroughly go through your child’s hair and methodically remove everything. Worth it for the peace of mind….
Professional, friendly and thorough. They went above and beyond to make sure my child’s case of head lice was resolved. I would highly recommend Let’s Be PALS service!
Thank you so much! Let’s Be PALS came out the day I called. We are talking within three hours and treated my daughter and checked the rest of us. If this ever happens again, they will be my first phone call!