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How to Get Rid of Head Lice

Medications to Get Rid of Head Lice

In order get rid of head lice in the infested person, medication is required. Several types of medicines are available to treat head lice. Some are available over the counter; others are available only with a prescription. These medicines come in various forms, including shampoo, cream, and lotion. You may even consider an alternative treatment (see Home Remedy for Head Lice).
 
Your healthcare provider can recommend the medication that is right for your particular situation (see Medications for Head Lice).
 
Once you have chosen a head lice medication, follow these important steps:
 
  • Before applying the treatment, remove all clothing from the waist up.
     
  • Apply lice medicine according to label instructions. If your child has extra-long hair (longer than shoulder length), you may need to use more than one bottle. Pay special attention to the instructions on the bottle regarding how long the medication should be left on and whether rinsing the hair is recommended after treatment.
     
  • Do not use a cream rinse or combination shampoo/conditioner before using lice medicine. Do not rewash hair for one to two days after administering the head lice treatment. There are two exceptions to this requirement; with benzyl alcohol lotion (Ulesfia®) and spinosad (Natroba®), the hair may be washed immediately after treatment.
     
  • Have the infested person put on clean clothing after treatment.
     
  • If a few live lice are still found 8 to 12 hours after treatment, but are moving more slowly than before, do not retreat. Comb dead and remaining live lice out of the hair. The medicine may take longer to kill some lice.
     
  • If, after 8 to 12 hours of lice treatment, no dead lice are found and lice seem as active as before, the medicine may not be working. See your healthcare provider for a different medication, and follow the treatment directions.
     
  • If using over-the-counter medicines, retreat in 7 to 10 days. If using the prescription drugs malathion or spinosad, retreat in a week or so only if crawling bugs are found. If using benzyl alcohol lotion, you must retreat in 7 days.
     
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About Head Lice

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