If over-the-counter shampoos don’t work, you can get a stronger prescription shampoo that contains either malathion lotion, an organophosphate chemical often used as the base for insecticides, or benzyl alcohol lotion, an aromatic alcohol. Both substances are FDA-approved, but kids under 6-years-old should steer clear of malathion.
Take note though, these shampoos only kill live lice, not unhatched eggs or nits (that’s why most recommend reapplying in 7-10 days). Also, lice can get resistant to these pesticides, warns Sammis.
Your best line of treatment? Get a good lice treatment comb and meticulously comb and comb and comb every day until they are gone. These tools have several, densely packed metal prongs that detach lice from stands.
Preventing lice in the first place can be difficult and has nothing to do with one’s cleanliness. ”It’s sort of the wrong place at the wrong time,” added Sommis. If your child has a friend with lice, a preventative shampoo is your best bet—along with daily head checks.
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