Lice are a very common problem, especially in young children. But teens can have them, too. They spread between people with great ease and sometimes it costs a lot to get rid of them. Its bites can cause itching and irritation to the scalp, and scratching can lead to infections.
Lice are bothersome, but they are not dangerous and do not spread disease. They are not an indicator of poor hygiene: Lice need blood to live, regardless of whether a person’s scalp is clean or dirty.
It is best to treat lice as soon as possible so that they do not spread.
The two main ways to treat lice are:
If you think you have lice, call your doctor. Your doctor may recommend a medically formulated shampoo, cream, or lotion to kill lice. These products can be sold with or without a prescription. It all depends on what your doctor thinks will work best for you.
It can be difficult to get rid of lice. If you continue to have lice two weeks after starting treatment to eliminate them, inform your doctor. The doctor may prefer to change the medication or repeat the treatment, if there are any nits left that have hatched after treatment.
Lice are insects; therefore, its treatment is based on the use of insecticides or pesticides. To avoid an overdose, you must carefully follow the instructions on the amount of medicine you should use and how often you should apply it. Medication treatment usually kills lice, but the itch may persist for a few more days.
Your doctor may recommend combing your wet hair with a comb, in addition to (or as an alternative to) chemical treatment. Drug treatment is not 100% effective, so manual removal is also important.
To remove lice and nits manually, wet your hair and comb it with a fine-toothed comb (or nit) after you have applied conditioner or softening cream to your hair every 3–4 days for 3 weeks after seeing the last lice alive. Go checking small sections of hair each time. Wetting the hair earlier helps temporarily immobilize the lice, and applying conditioner to the hair makes it easier for the nit to slide. When possible, it is best to have someone else do the styling and removal of nits and lice.
Lice are often difficult to get rid of, because nits may remain in your hair or you can re-infect yourself with lice that were left on your bedding or other objects. Here is what you have to do if you have just had lice, or if someone in your family has them: