Schools and manufacturers of lice products estimate that most infestations occur in children under the age of twelve. Head lice are spread through head to head contact or indirectly by sharing items such as hats, clothing, hair brushes and towels. Infestations are more common in girls, perhaps because of their longer hair and the more frequent sharing of combs and other head accessories. The good news is that head lice treatment is relatively easy and painless. Read on to discover the most effective lice treatment to wipe out these pests and keep them from coming back
To confirm an infestation, closely examine the hair under bright light. Lice are very small and fast so they can be hard to see. The nits, or lice eggs, will appear close to the scalp and are oval shaped, whitish beads that do not move when brushed with the finger. Removing these nits is critical, so using a lice comb will be the most effective way of doing so. Metal combs are sturdier than plastic ones and many people recommend soaking the combs in rubbing alcohol, water and anti-lice shampoo or a 2% Lysol solution for one hour before using them.
Before you begin lice treatment, speak to a pharmacist about the various products available and the risks they may pose to your family. Some products contain the chemical ‘lindane’ which can cause neurotoxicity. Some people choose to use home remedies for head lice, like smothering the hair in mayonnaise or olive oil. These methods have been proven to have moderate success.
As with traditional treatment methods, use a nit comb daily to remove the dead nits and continue to do this for several days. After a week, repeat the treatment and continue to check for lice and nits until you are sure they are all gone.
Health Canada has approved a non-pesticide product called Resultz, but the product is still being tested in the United States. Resultz is applied to dry hair for ten minutes and then is rinsed away with warm water. A second application is recommended one week later. Isopropyl myristate 50%, the active ingredient in Resultz, works by dissolving the wax that covers the louse’s outer skeleton. Isopropyl myristate is also used in products such as lipstick, bath oil and moisturizers.
Lice seem to enjoy hanging out behind your ears and at the back of the neck, so give those spots extra attention when using lice treatment. If you find that you still have lice and nits after two applications of a product, then the lice may have developed resistance. Some entomologists have reported that head lice have developed resistance to pesticides.
Your best course of action is discussing your options with a doctor. After completing the lice treatment, be diligent about checking hair and removing nits daily, and repeatedly vacuum your home and car for a few weeks. This will help to keep the bugs away.