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4 Myths About Head Lice

4 Myths About Head LiceMyth 1: Lice are incredibly contagious.

Fact: It actually takes close, head-to-head contact for lice to spread.

Myth 2: Lice are resistant to the available treatments.

Fact: Many over-the-counter remedies still work fine, as do home remedies.

Applying something like Cetaphil cleanser or shaving cream to the head and leaving it on overnight to suffocate the lice can help a lot. Simply shampoo afterwards and comb out the dead pests. And to be fair, combing in and of itself can be a solution in many cases. Combing is the safest and most cost effective approach that accomplishes what chemicals cannot — it allows for regular screening and early detection which makes the combing approach even more practical.

The important point to remember is that you should repeat whatever treatment you choose at least twice (a third time might be necessary), spaced a week apart, to ensure you get any eggs that may hatch in the interim.

There has been some evidence of growing resistance to over-the-counter remedies, but what you may not know is that newer prescription drugs have come out in the past year or two that are far more effective. Benzyl alcohol, marketed under the brand name Ulesfia is one such FDA-approved topical solution. Additionally, Ovide and Natroba are new nontoxic alternative topical treatments (in the form of prescription-only lotions) that attack lice through different channels than permethrin does, the neurotoxin used in Nix and Rid. A third product, Sklice, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in February.

Myth 3: If your child gets lice, you need to wash everything in the house.

Fact: Remember, lice require close contact in order to spread. While it definitely can’t hurt to wash bedding and hats,.there really isn’t a need to go to crazy with cleaning everything in the house. In fact, one study found lice on only 4 percent of the pillowcases of infested people.

If lice is a recurrent problem and you vanquish your foe only to find them reappearing a week or two later, it wouldn’t hurt to simply get out of the house for a bit — 55 hours to be exact. Lice will die because they cannot survive without a human host for longer than 55 hours, so if you were thinking about taking a weekend away some place, now would be a good time to do it. Just remember to make sure your child’s head is lice-free before you bring them home!

Myth 4: Lice are a sign of bad hygiene.

Fact: The tiny insects don’t mean that your child is “dirty” — and they don’t harm them in any way, either.


As usual, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s health, don’t hesitate to give MacKoul pediatrics a call!


About author MacKoul Pediatrics

MacKoul Pediatrics is an amazing local pediatrics office in Cape Coral, FL where caring, compassionate doctors and nurses work with you to keep your children as healthy as possible. MacKoul cares for children from birth to college age, from Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples, and beyond.

March 18, 2015