Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wipe Out Lice With A Pill

Head lice are just plain nasty and can turn your poor child into a social pariah. Even though they don't spread disease or cause serious harm, the little parasites are extremely contagious and can lead to itching and irritation. They also require that your child be kept home from school or camp until the problem is in check.

Past remedies for ridding the victim of lice has included carefully picking out lice eggs (nits) with a special comb, dousing hair in olive oil and covering with a plastic cap to suffocate the bugs, and applying prescription creams. All of these methods are messy and somewhat unreliable, since lice actually build up resistance to topical Rx creams and gels.

If you get a call from camp or school saying your child has lice, ask your pediatrician about the drug ivermectin, brand name Stromectol. This anti-parasitic pill has been used to treat roundworm and has shown success in treating lice infestations. Out of 398 children given the drug, some 95% were lice-free two weeks later.

Side effects include nausea and a rash, but children who participated in the study preferred the pill 7 to 1 over the traditional anti-lice scalp cream malathion.

Ivermectin could be a mess-free way to rid your child of lice and get her back in the classroom fast. Be sure to discuss all of the risks and side-effects with your pediatrician first so you can weigh the odds of using a drug to wipe out the lice infestation. If you prefer natural methods, you'll probably be stuck with the oil-and-plastic-showercap trick. Natural for sure, but not likely to be popular with the kiddies.

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