Parents often complain that over-the-counter shampoos aren’t effective in getting rid of head lice. In reality, most over-the-counter products are effective in treating head lice if parents follow through with all the treatment steps.
Here is the simple four-step process to get rid of head lice:
Step one: You will need to cut your child's hair. The shorter the better. It would be futile treating head lice if you’ve got long hair or braids where they could easily hide. If you’re one of those mothers who gets sensitive about cutting your daughter’s hair, let an insensitive man handle this step.
Step two: Treat with shampoo. Most lice will be killed by the shampoo, but their eggs are much tougher and often survive to hatch in a few days. That’s why most instructions recommend retreatment after one week. I’ll recommend following your shampoos’ instructions on how long to leave the shampoo on your child's hair.
Step three: Remove the lice and nit with a fine-toothed comb: Combing is a crucial step for success and must be repeated daily for the first week. You may have to purchase a long fine-toothed comb to get better results with this step. I’d be remiss if I fail to mention that I believe that steps 1 and 3 are the most important steps to successfully treating head lice. You can theoretically eradicate head lice with just these two steps alone.
"..Steps 1 and 3 are the most important steps to successfully treating head lice. "
Step four: Control: This is the part that most people neglect. You may not be able to wash every item that your child uses, but try washing as many clothes as you can. These include pillowcases, towels, hats, beddings and blankets, etc., and dry them in high heat for at least 20 minutes. You should then spray the rest of the items you can’t wash. In reality, head lice aren’t as resilient and contagious as a lot of people think and they often can't survive outside of a host for more than 72 hours.
Here’s an exhaustive checklist of items that will need to be sprayed or washed with a lice spray.
Home and auto upholstery
Combs and brushes
In summary, parents often freak out when they see their children infected with lice. This is because these tiny bugs look very hideous and repulsive on a child’s head. But in reality, these pesky hair tyrants are not as dreadful and contagious as they appear, and they are easy to eradicate if you follow through on the four simple steps above.
Good luck if your child has head lice.
Your Baby’s Comfort is Our Mission.
Andrew Faniku, MD