Beat the Bugs: How to Get Rid of Head Lice

Head lice infestations affect up to 12 million children every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fortunately, there are a number of remedies that will beat the bugs and eliminate itching.

Head lice are a common problem among children, especially once the school year starts. If your kids come home with these pests, there are over-the-counter and prescription products that can offer relief for your family. Learning how to get rid of head lice is the first step toward fighting an infestation and preventing it from spreading to other family members or friends. The following information can help you find the head lice treatment you need in Benton, Arkansas.

Over-the-Counter Treatments

Head lice medications that do not require a prescription are available in many pharmacies. Over-the-counter options that have FDA approval typically contain either pyrethrins or permethrin lotion as their active ingredients. Pyrethrins are natural insecticides come from chrysanthemum flowers, and permethrin lotion is a chemical treatment that is similar to pyrethrins. Both ingredients are safe when used according to a product’s directions, which typically involve two treatments about nine days apart. It should be noted that while both of these treatments kill adult lice, neither affects the nits, which are unhatched eggs.

Prescription Treatments

Several prescription treatments for head lice are available through your doctor and pharmacy. These options contain different chemicals, such as benzyl alcohol, ivermectin, malathion, and spinosad, that offer varying degrees of effectiveness. Benzyl alcohol and ivermectin kill live lice but do not kill eggs, while malathion destroys some eggs in addition to live lice. Spinosad kills both live lice and eggs. If you decide to use a prescription treatment, keep in mind that these must be applied as directed to be used safely and effectively. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about how to get rid of head lice with these products.

Comb-Out Treatment

Combing involves the use of a metal nit comb to remove lice over a period of time. If you try this method, begin by wetting your child’s hair with conditioner to make it easier to spot lice. Neon products are also available in shampoo and spray forms to help dye the nits a fluorescent color and make them easier to detect. Run the comb through your child’s hair near the scalp to locate and remove lice. Before moving onto another section of hair, be sure to wipe the comb clean to avoid transferring live lice. After each combing session, clean the comb with soap and hot water. Comb your child’s hair on a daily basis until you no longer find any live lice. After that, resume combing every few days over the course of a month to make sure the infestation is completely gone.

Preventing Re-infestations

Check your child’s hair with a comb every few days for up to three weeks after using head lice medication to help prevent another infestation. You should also wash your child’s clothes and bedding to eliminate any live lice or eggs. Vacuuming carpeting and furniture can also help, although lice rarely survive long enough on these surfaces to cause an infestation.

If are trying to get rid of head lice and looking for head lice treatments in Benton, Arkansas, contact the pharmacists at Smith-Caldwell Drug Store at 501-392-5470. Our experienced and professional staff can help your family find relief.