Head Lice

Head Lice Treatments

Getting rid of lice isn't complicated. It can be as simple as taking a trip down to the local drug store. Most of time, you won't even have to go see a doctor. There are several over-the-counter treatment options available. You just need to know what you're looking for. Medicated shampoos are among the most popular. They're easy to use, and more often than not, they're effective. When picking one out, look for pyrethin or permethrin in the ingredients. Two of the most popular brands are Rid and Nix. Whichever product you decide to use, follow the directions as closely as possible for the best results [source: Mayo Clinic].

Unfortunately, even if you follow the directions perfectly, it may not be enough. Lice in some parts of the world have become resistant to many over-the-counter treatments. If your lice are a little too resilient, you may need a prescription to coax them off. Malathion, lindane and benzoyl alcohol lotion are three commonly prescribed treatments for lice. Malathion is an insecticide, and in low doses it's safe to use on humans. It's simply applied to your hair and rubbed into your scalp. Malathion is flammable, so be careful around any open flames. You may also want to avoid it if you're pregnant or breast-feeding. Lindane comes in several different forms, including creams and shampoos. It's considered a safe treatment, but it has been known to cause skin irritation and seizures in some patients. Benzoyl alcohol lotion is a newer treatment; although it's effective and safe for adults, it shouldn't be used on infants under six months of age. Doing so could result in seizures, coma or even death [source: Mayo Clinic].

No matter what treatment you end up going with, you'll still have some work to do when it's all over. While most products are great at killing lice, they don't get rid of nits, and that means in one to two weeks you're likely to have a new infestation. You can remove nits by hand or buy a special comb while you're at the drug store. Either way, this last step should be repeated until all signs of the lice infestation have disappeared [source: Family Doctor].

There may be a few home remedies that are effective at removing those lingering lice as well. Keep reading to learn more about them.