How To Treat Lice

Looking for information on how to get rid of head lice? We’ll tell you how to treat lice and also tell you about the best lice treatment we’ve discovered. After all, no one wants those creepy crawly bugs around any longer than absolutely necessary! Head lice are also very contagious, so it’s important to treat them as quickly as possible to avoid spreading them to others. Fortunately, in most cases, it is fairly easy to eliminate lice.

How to Treat Lice With Over-The-Counter Remedies

Over-the-counter remedies are usually adequate to get rid of lice and in fact, doctors usually recommend these products rather than prescription treatments. Over-the-counter products carry a much lower risk of side effects, especially serious side effects. They are affordable and available at any drug store.

Common over-the-counter remedies include permethrin (products like Nix), which is a synthetic form of pyrethrin, and pyrethrin with additional additives (products like Rid). These products are easy to use. Wash hair with a shampoo without conditioner first, then apply the lice treatment to the hair as directed. Read the instructions to see how long to leave it on before rinsing. Make sure to follow all instructions carefully. Be careful not to get the medication in your eyes.

While these types of over-the-counter lice treatments are safe for most people, they can cause itching and redness of the scalp. Pyrethrin is not safe to use if you are allergic to ragweed or chrysanthemum.

How to Treat Lice With Prescription Medications

Mother treating daughter’s hair against lice

Prescription medications for lice are generally only recommended if you are unable to use over-the-counter remedies for some reason, such as allergies, or if over-the-counter remedies haven’t been effective. In some areas, lice have developed resistance to common over-the-counter medications and those simply don’t work any longer. 

Prescription treatments for lice carry a greater risk of unpleasant or harmful side effects, so they are only used when over-the-counter remedies aren’t an option. One common prescription medication for lice is benzyl alcohol, which kills lice by depriving them of oxygen. It is not safe for use on infants under six months of age, however. Another prescription medication for lice is malathion. It must be applied to the hair, allowed to dry, and then rinsed off eight hours later. It is not meant to be used on children under the age of six. Less often, doctors prescribe lindane to treat lice. According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s only prescribed when other treatments haven’t worked, due to the risk of serious side effects, including seizures. It’s not approved for use on children and is not safe for use on people weighing less than 100 pounds, people with a history of seizures, women that are pregnant or breastfeeding, or people with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). Talk to your doctor if you have questions about how to treat lice and what products are best for you and your family.

Follow all instructions very carefully when using prescription lice treatments. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about how to use them or about any safety precautions you should take.

The Best Lice Treatment

Our favorite product for treating lice is the Fairy Tales Lice Good-bye Lice Removal Kit. We like it because it doesn’t contain any chemical pesticides, which can potentially cause unpleasant side effects. Instead of chemical pesticides, this product is made from naturally-occurring enzymes that kill lice and loosen the eggs (nits), so they can easily be removed. While you might think treatment products containing pesticides would work better than natural products, the truth is that some lice have developed a resistance to those chemical pesticides and in those cases, natural products like this one may actually work better. Just follow this link to learn more about the Fairy Tales Lice Good-bye Lice Removal Kit.

Additional Reading:

What Causes Head Lice – Poor hygiene does not make someone more likely to get lice. Get the facts on how lice spreads.

How to Spot head Lice – Lice are small and move very quickly. Here is how to properly check someone for head lice.

Pictures of Lice – Pictures of adult lice, nymphs (juvenile lice) and eggs (nits). Lice life cycle information.

Home Remedy for Lice – Are any home remedies effective for treating lice? Does hair dye kill lice? Comparison of treatment options.

How to Prevent Lice – Tips for preventing head lice.