Lice - Treatment

Treatment for lice involves two steps. First, a chemical is used to kill the adult lice. Two common products used for this are lindane (trade name Kwell) and permethrin (trade name Nix). Both products are strong chemicals and care must be used in applying them to the hair or skin.

The second step in treatment is removing nits. If left in place, the nits may survive and mature to become young lice. The easiest way to remove nits is with a fine-tooth comb or tweezers. In most cases, a single treatment destroys all lice and nits. If necessary, a second treatment can be applied a week later.

Treatment also involves washing the patient's clothing and bedding in hot water. These objects should then be ironed with a hot iron. Clothing and bedding can also be treated with an insecticide, such as malathion powder.

Alternative Treatment

Some practitioners of holistic medicine believe that lice can be treated with a mixture of oil of pennyroyal, garlic, and distilled water. The mixture is applied once a day for three days.

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