How to treat head lice?

Lice are caused by a parasite – pediculum humanis capitis. Te infection appears most often in communities where there is close contact between members, and these are usually kindergartens, schools, homes etc. There is almost no child who hasn’t been treated for this infection during its lifetime.

It was once widely thought that the best treatment is to cut hair short, however today there are substances which eliminate the infection very easily. Cutting hair is recommended only in extremely persistent infections today.

Primarily, Permethrin shampoo or lotion of 1% is used. It affects the living specimen, while it has almost no effect on the eggs. This is the reason why it is necessary to repeat the therapy in a week. The lotion is more efficient then a shampoo because it stays in contact with hair longer.

Lindan shampoo is used with children who are more then 6 years old and the same rule applies to it. It can not be used more often because in this way it penetrates the skin and reaches the central nervous system.

After the shampoo therapy, hair regenerator mustn’t be used because it envelopes the skin and doesn’t allow adequate influence of the medicine on the lice. Washing hair with a regular shampoo can be implemented only 2 days after therapy.

After the therapy, it is needed to comb the hair with a special lice removal comb. All the wardrobe and bed sheeting which can be washed should be washed and the one that can not be washed should be stored in vacuum bag for 2 weeks. Every object that was in a prolonged contact with a child should be placed under a warm shower for 5 minutes, and the house should be vacuumed thoroughly.

If lice appear on the eyelashes, the Petrolatum oil can be used 2x a day for 10 days, to prevent the lice to breathe.

For extremely resistant cases there are medications that can be prescribed to treat this kind of parasite.

Spec. Dr. Svetlana Djurisic, dermatologist
Dermatological clinic DERMATIM, Belgrade, Serbia