It’s the beginning of the school year, which means that it is time to prepare for the little bugs that get passed around the classroom, lice!
Head lice are parasitic insects that can be found on the head, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Preschool and elementary school-aged children, as well as their parents and caregivers, are at the greatest risk for lice infestation. The most common way to spread lice is through head-to-head contact, which can easily happen when children are playing.
Here are some tips from the pharmacist to help prevent and treat head lice.
Try over the counter options first
There are over the counter (OTC) options that can be used if your child has lice. OTC items like Nix are available at your local grocery store. Using an OTC option first can save you money, as many of the prescription-only items can be costly, and may not be covered by your insurance.
Prescription treatment is available
If you’re unable to get rid of lice using OTC products, your doctor can write you a prescription for lice treatment. The following are examples of prescription-only lice treatment.
- Sklice is for children 6 months of age and older. It is a 10-minute treatment that doesn’t require any nit combing. The manufacturer offers a savings program that can reduce your co-pay to at least $30. For more information, visit their website here.
- Ovide is a lotion used on children 6 years of age and older. Keep in mind that it is flammable, and a second treatment may be required after seven days if lice are still present.
- Ulesfia is for children 6 months of age and older. Be sure to repeat the treatment after seven days. The manufacturer offers a savings program that can reduce your co-pay to as little as $10. For more information, visit their website here.
- Natroba is a topical solution indicated for children 6 months of age and older. Nit combing is not required, but using a fine-tooth comb may be helpful to remove dead lice and nits.
Don’t share personal items
Teaching your child to share is an important life lesson; however, some personal items should not be shared in order to protect against spreading lice. Make sure your child knows that personal items like brushes, hats, helmets, headbands, and towels should not be shared.
Check with your state department of health
Each state department will have information on symptoms, treatments, and guidance for lice prevention and treatment. Refer to your state’s department of health website for more information.