If you have lice in the house, the first step in treatment is to kill the adult lice. The most effective way to do this is through the use of lice shampoo. Finding the right lice shampoo can present a bit of a challenge, so here is what you need to know.
A look at lice shampoo
Before even considering a lice shampoo, you will want to make sure your child has lice in the first place. If you are the least bit doubtful, consult your pediatrician. Dandruff and hair casts are often misidentified as lice eggs. If you see live lice and/or nits, then you will want to treat with a lice shampoo.
Nix and Rid are the two most popular lice shampoos. Nix includes the pesticide permethrin and is applied to washed and dried hair. Rid includes the pesticide pyrethrin and is applied to wet, unwashed hair. Both lice shampoos are applied thickly, until the scalp is saturated. The lice shampoo is left on for 10 minutes before rinsing. You may need to repeat the lice shampoo treatment in 7-10 days to kill off any new lice that might have hatched from missed eggs.
For light infestations, you can try manually removing lice and nits instead of using a lice shampoo. However, you will need to be extra careful to remove all nits and lice or else the infestation will not be cured.
On the other hand, resistant or heavy infestations may require the use of a prescription lice shampoo. Ovide is a prescription lice shampoo that you can get from your doctor. The shampoo is lathered and allowed to sit on the hair overnight. Unlike over-the-counter lice shampoos, Ovide also helps to kill the lice eggs.
Removing the eggs
The majority of lice shampoos that you can pick up at your local drug store will not kill the lice eggs, or nits. Therefore, in addition to the lice shampoo, you will need to manually remove the nits from the hair shaft. Many lice shampoos will include a comb in the package for this purpose.
After using the lice shampoo, separate the hair into sections. Comb through each section of the hair with the lice comb, removing any lice and eggs that you will see. You will need to repeat the process daily for two weeks to make sure that all the nits and lice are removed. After that point, you may need to repeat with a second dose of the lice shampoo.
If the lice shampoo fails
If the lice shampoo fails, there could be a few reasons for it. The lice could have become resistant to the medication in the lice shampoo and needs a different or stronger treatment. You may have missed nits (which are not killed off by lice shampoo) and new lice are hatching and starting the process over. Or, your child could be becoming re-infected from the environment or other children. Therefore, it is essentially that all children in the family and/or classroom be checked and treated for lice if necessary, all nits be removed, and the environment (like bed linens and furniture) be thoroughly cleaned in addition to using a lice shampoo. If you are still seeing lice after two doses of the lice shampoo, consult a doctor for assistance.