8 best lice remedies of 2021

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Method and severity: 'Most lice remedies are local insecticides that kill the lice, the eggs, or both. Prescription benzyl alcohol suppresses lice. Different products (both over-the-counter and prescription) have different ways of killing lice depending on the mechanism of action of the product. Many treatments must be repeated after seven days due to the life cycle of nits to lice. In addition to medications, brushing your hair with a fine comb every three to four days for several weeks can cure the infection, but research suggests that it may not be as effective as medications.

Lice can infect both children and adults at all socioeconomic levels; however, children are infected more often than adults. This could be due to the mode of transmission (direct contact or possibly hat swapping). There is no difference in the treatment mechanism for adults and children, but adults may require more product due to the larger head size. We also have more safety concerns for young children who may absorb more product than their size.

'If there is not widespread resistance in the population, over-the-counter permethrin drugs are the first-line treatment. In some communities, lice become resistant to this treatment. If you need a prescription, I prefer benzyl alcohol or spinosad. Karbofos is also a commonly prescribed medication, but it smells bad and can be flammable. It is also important to follow specific product instructions because they are applied for different lengths of time and some are applied to wet hair and some to dry hair.

'When rinsing the hair, we recommend using cold water to reduce the risk of absorption. When blood vessels are heated, they enlarge and increase absorption through the skin. Rinsing over the sink, rather than under the shower or tub, also reduces contact with other skin. Many products are irritating to the eyes, so care must be taken not to wash them from the eyes. "- Adam Keating, MD, pediatrician , Children's Hospital of Cleveland .

Manual or chemical treatment: 'In general, the treatment for head lice is the same for all age groups. It is important to read the contraindications of any product to check for age restrictions or other vulnerable groups (such as pregnant women) and allergies. Most over-the-counter or prescription lice remedies are safe when the directions are followed correctly. However, many people do not follow the instructions. For example, if the product label says to leave it on their hair for an hour, some people wash it off after 10 minutes.

'As with so many things, there are many treatment options for head lice and some are better than others. However, having a good lice comb is just as important as using a good lice remedy. Most of the combs that come with the grooming kit are not effective. We use and recommend the comb terminator without filaments. This is essential for successful treatment. Anyone concerned about an ingredient in a product can be successfully treated by using an inert product such as conditioner, olive oil, or coconut oil in combination with a non-filamentous styling comb. Combing (manual or mechanical removal) is also a separate treatment method. ”- Anna Warren, owner of the Asheville, North Carolina head lice treatment center .

Composition: 'The key characteristics of lice treatment include topical neurotoxic agents, oral agents, combination therapy and mechanical removal therapy. Washing all bedding, sheets, and towels in hot water for at least 30 minutes is also important to cure and prevent reinfection. Items that cannot be washed can be placed in a Ziploc bag for more than a week, as lice cannot survive without human blood for more than 48 hours. Wash all surfaces. Other siblings and adults should also be treated if live lice are seen on the scalp. It is also important to note that nit removal should be done by hand every day after topical treatment. It is very important that patients know the side effects and age recommendations of certain treatments. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider and / or pediatrician for the best advice for your child. All treatment options work the same, but they can have more side effects in younger children.

'I generally recommend over-the-counter Nix or RID medications with up to two application intervals a week apart as the first line of defense. It is very important to comb wet hair with a fine tooth comb, removing all nits. If a nit survives, reinfection can occur. It is very important to treat all family members at home and wash all sheets, towels, and bedding at the same time as the treatment. If the first treatment fails, I recommend Sklice or Ovide therapy (prescription options). It is important to discuss with your primary care provider any safety and efficacy issues related to the various lice treatments. ”- Sarah Siddiqi, MD , NYU Langone Health pediatrician.

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