Winter weather is finally setting in and the experts warn — this is when kids tend to share hats, coats and — head lice. Pharmacist Mark Christensen says parents should discourage the sharing of clothes and outerwear to halt spreading the bug. He says it’s a good idea to wash clothes and clean your house frequently. If prevention fails, Christensen says there are plenty of treatments for the little pests.
Christenson says "We recommend going to a pharmacy, buying a product that’s been tested thoroughly by the Insect Control Center in Washington D.C.," and use the products from the store to treat head lice. Your grandmother or mother may have handed down some rather creative home remedies for head lice, though Doctor Christensen says it’s likely best to avoid them.
He says things like vinegar or mayonnaise don’t work. They might immobilize the head lice for a time, but you still have to comb them out and if you miss one, the infestation will keep coming back. He adds, using a hairdryer also will not work to kill lice. He says you should look for a product that kills the lice and their eggs.
New products are being designed without the pesticide chemicals used in past years and he says they’re not only more environmentally-friendly and scalp-friendly, lice won’t develop resistance like they tended to do with the old treatments.
This year pharmacists and the National PTA have teamed up to offer a DVD that shows parents how to diagnose and treat lice. If your local PTA doesn’t have it available yet, he says you can surf to "lice-free-dot-com" or phone 1-800- "itching" and they’ll send you a copy of the DVD so you can find out more about things you should look for and things you should do. Ask the pharmacist at your local drugstore for brand names and other recommendations.