Household members and other individuals who are in close contact with the infested
person have to be checked. The infested individual and the members of the household
should be treated together. Experts generally recommend preventive treatment for
individuals who sleep on the same bed with infested persons.
In many cases, individuals who are infested with head lice can be
treated with over-the-counter medication although prescription medicine
is also available. It is vital to properly follow the instruction that
comes with whatever medication that you want to use. Drugs that are used
for treating head lice are insecticides and they should be handled with care.
The lice medicine usually has to be left on the hair for a particular period
of time. The infested person should remove items of clothing that can be
stained before the treatment is applied. A larger quantity of the medication
may be needed for persons who have long hair.
The infested person should not use a hair conditioner or shampoo before treatment.
The hair should also not be washed for about two days after the treatment. It is
not necessary to retreat if a few slow-moving lice are found 8-12 hours after the
application of head lice medicine. If you cannot find any dead lice after this
period, your health care provider may recommend another lice medicine.
Head lice medicine usually comes with a fine-toothed comb that is used for
combing the dead and the slow moving lice out of the hair after treatment.
Combing can also be done with the use of flea combs that are made for dogs
and cats. Checking and combing of the hair should be continued for about three
days after the treatment to reduce the probability of re-infestation.
Retreatment is usually required after about 7-9 days so as to kill any newly
hatched lice before they start producing eggs.
There are certain additional measures that should be taken when head lice is
being treated with medicine. These measures are necessary in order to prevent
re-infestation. The hats, bedding, towels and clothes used by the infested individual
within two to three days before the commencement of treatment should be washed in a
washing machine with hot water and dried with the use of the hot air cycle. This will
ensure that the parasite is completely destroyed because lice and their eggs cannot
endure temperatures above 53.5°C. Non-washable clothing items can be dry-cleaned.
Items that you cannot wash should be sealed in plastic bags for about two weeks. Plastic
items such as brushes or combs can simply be soaked in hot water for about ten minutes.
You do not have to spend a lot of time on the cleaning of your home but the floors and
furniture should be vacuumed. It is also unnecessary to use insecticide sprays. Head lice
cannot survive for more than two days away from the human body. The nits (eggs) will not
hatch and will die off within seven days if they are not in an environment that has the same
temperature as the human scalp.