Your Family's Health: Coping With Head Lice

Besser noted that lice have grown resistant to the ingredients in over-the-counter treatments, so if they don't work for your child, your doctor can prescribe shampoos or lotions that are stronger treatment alternatives.

Treatment Options Vary

Some of the prescribed treatments may include malathion, the controversial pesticide sprayed over crops. Malathion is flammable, so keep it away from heat sources, including hair driers and electric curlers.

Lindane is another prescription medication and comes in either a cream, lotion or shampoo. Its side effects include skin irritation and seizures, and it's actually banned in California.

A newly approved treatment, benzyl alcohol lotion, should not be used in children who are younger than 6 months. The side effects of this treatment may include skin, scalp and eye irritation.

If you don't want to use the chemicals, you can get a fine-toothed or nit comb and physically remove the lice, just as the Hair Fairies do. Comb through the child's hair every three to four days for at least two weeks. This is actually the preferred method of treatment for children younger than 2 . If you want to hire a professional, your school nurse can usually recommend a service in your area.

Q: Is it necessary to discard clothes or a mattress if lice have come into your home?

A: No. Once they're removed from the scalp, lice live between 12 and 48 hours, so there's no need to throw your things out. Wash your sheets, stuffed animals and clothing in very hot water and dry them on high heat. Soak all hair brushes and combs in hot water.

Bedding, clothing or things that cannot be washed may be sealed in an airtight bag for three or four days. This will kill live and newly hatched lice. After you've removed the items from the bag, vacuum them thoroughly.

Click HERE to get comprehensive information from the CDC, and click HERE for specific information about pediatric scalp care.

For more information and resources on head lice CLICK HERE to visit HairFairies.com.

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