Lice are tiny parasitic insects that feed on your blood that can easily spread from one person to another. Anyone who comes in close contact with someone who already has lice, or even in contact with their contaminated clothing and other belongings, is at risk of getting lice. Preschool and elementary school children and their families are infected most often. You or your child can have good personal hygiene habits and still get lice. Unless treated properly, this condition can become a recurring problem. Common signs and symptoms of lice are itching, tickling feeling in the hair, and small red bumps on the head and shoulders. Lice can usually be taken care of by self-care steps. If self-care steps do not help in getting rid of lice, our dermatologists can prescribe and recommend treatments that kill lice and prevent them from reoccurring.
Lice treatments include permethrin and ivermectin. Permethrin is the preferred treatment for lice. Permethrin 1% (Nix) is available over the counter, and permethrin 5% (Elimite) is available by prescription by one of our dermatologists. Permethrin is a cream rinse that is designed to leave a residue after rinsing that kills lice, so reapplication is usually not needed. Ivermectin is an oral antiparasitic drug given as a single dose that has been shown to effectively treat resistant lice infestations. This is usually prescribed to treat lice when the person does not respond to two or more topical treatments.