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- Sharing combs, brushes, hats, and other personal items
- Personal contact with people who may have lice
- Extreme itchiness
- Skin breaks and possible infection caused by scratching
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Bacterial infection—if scratching causes open areas on the scalp
- Applying over-the-counter shampoo containing the insecticide permethrin. It is important to use medications as directed. Retreatment at 7-10 days is usually required to kill any lice that hatch from unremoved eggs.
- Removing lice on the eyelashes, which may be difficult. Tweezers can be used to pick them off. Vaseline may be used to coat the eyelashes and kill the lice.
- Unless instructed otherwise, remove eggs manually with specially designed combs. Eggs stick firmly to hair. Over-the-counter products that loosen the eggs may help with removal.
- Watch for signs of head lice, such as frequent head scratching.
- Don't share combs, brushes, hats, or other personal items with people who may have lice.
- Avoid close personal contact with people who may have lice.
- If you or your children have head lice, thoroughly wash and dry combs, brushes, hats, clothing, bedding, and stuffed animals. Also, vacuum carpeting and car seats.
- If your children get head lice, notify their school, camp, daycare provider, and their friends' parents.
- Check all family members for lice and eggs at least once a week.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
Kids Health—Nemours Foundation http://kidshealth.org
Caring for Kids—Canadian Paediatric Society http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Lindane shampoo and lindane lotion. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm110452.htm. Updated June 18, 2009. Accessed January 15, 2015.
Medication guide lindane lotion. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/UCM133687.pdf. Updated August 2007. Accessed January 15, 2015.
Medication guide lindane shampoo. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/UCM133688.pdf. Updated August 2007. Accessed January 15, 2015.
Head lice. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/e---h/head-lice. Accessed January 15, 2015.
Revised lindane lotion label. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda%5Fdocs/label/2003/006309lotionlbl.pdf. Accessed January 15, 2015.
Revised lindane shampoo label. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda%5Fdocs/label/2003/006309shampoolbl.pdf. Accessed January 15, 2015.
Roberts RJ. Clinical practice. Head lice. N Engl J Med. 2002;347(17):1381-1382.
12/14/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Burgess IF, Brunton ER, Burgess NA. Clinical trial showing superiority of a coconut and anise spray over permethrin 0.43% lotion for head louse infestation, ISRCTN96469780. Eur J Pediatr. 2010;169(1):55-62.
11/26/2012 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Pariser D, Meinking T, Bell M, et al. Topical 0.5% Ivermectin Lotion for Treatment of Head Lice. N Engl J Med. 2012; 367:1687.
- Reviewer: David L Horn, MD, FACP
- Review Date: 01/2015 -
- Update Date: 01/13/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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