Controlling Head Lice is a Challenge in Schools

With children going back to school, outbreaks of head lice in schools are more likely. The best control for this pest is using an over-the-counter head louse shampoo or lotion, plus combing the hair with a louse comb—a finetoothed comb that hair passes through, but not lice eggs (nits) and lice.

Unfortunately, research just released in August has confirmed what scientists (and parents) have been finding recently—that many lice populations are resistant to the common insecticides in louse lotions and shampoos—pyrethrins and permethrin. Although you can start with these products and they may still work (especially when combining the treatment with using a louse comb), they have been used so much that they are not as effective as they once were. Always follow label directions exactly.

Fortunately, more effective products (ivermectin, spinosad, and benzyl alcohol) are available, but only through a doctor’s prescription.

Remember, head-to-head contact with an infested person is the most common way to get head lice. But a person can also become infested by sharing combs, coats, etc. that have been used by an infested person within the last couple days, and by lying on a bed or pillow that has recently been used by an infested person.

Categories: