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Head Lice Blog

Related terms: Lice, head, Nits, Pediculosis capitis, head lice

Back-to-School Prep Includes Lice Review

Posted 14 days ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Aug. 15, 2014 – With the new school year here, parents need to think about how to deal with head lice, an expert says. The first sign of head lice may be excessive itching on the nape of the neck and behind the ears, said D'Ann Somerall, an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing. All children with lice and their bedmates should be treated at the same time. If lice are still present after treatment with over-the-counter products, parents should contact their health care provider, she said. Before using any over-the-counter lice treatments on children age 2 and younger, parents should talk with their pediatrician, Somerall advised. Home remedies – such as putting mayonnaise, vinegar or petroleum jelly in the hair and covering it with a shower cap – aren't effective, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Use a ... Read more

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Head Lice Growing Resistant to Standard Meds

Posted 14 Mar 2014 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, March 14, 2014 – Most head lice found in North America now carry a gene mutation that makes them resistant to standard over-the-counter treatments, a new study cautions. Head lice infestation is a major public-health issue, the researchers said, with roughly 10 percent of all American school-aged children missing school due to the intense itching and secondary infections that signal exposure. The problem: Years of relentless exposure to a single treatment option has given rise to a surviving head lice population that is armed with what geneticists call "knockdown resistance," in the form of the TI genetic mutation. This gives most of today's head lice an ability to withstand exposure to the main – and previously effective – ingredients found in most nonprescription head lice drugs: "pyrethroid" compounds such as permethrin. "This isn't really controversial," said study ... Read more

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Keep Lice Off Your Child's Head

Posted 24 Jan 2014 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 24, 2014 – It's that time of year when your children are back in school – and you need to be on the lookout for head lice, an expert says. Most common among kids in preschool, grade school and day-care settings, between 6 million and 12 million cases of head lice show up on the scalps of children aged 3 to 11 in the United States each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Contrary to popular belief, poor hygiene is not to blame. Head lice are spread mainly through direct head-to-head contact with an infected child. Because younger children tend to play closely together, they are at highest risk for infestation, explained Dr. Patricia Brown, a dermatologist at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Thankfully, there are ways to lower the odds of infestation for your children. Teach them to avoid head-to-head contact with other children, ... Read more

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Expert Tips to Get Rid of Head Lice

Posted 18 Feb 2013 by Drugs.com

SATURDAY, Feb. 16 – It takes more than a specially formulated shampoo or lotion to get rid of head lice, according to an expert from the University of California, San Francisco. Lice don't fly or jump, so they spread when kids' heads are close together, explained Dr. Paradi Mirmirani, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology. Mirmirani advised that anything that touches the head of a person with lice must be washed in hot water, including clothes, hats, sheets, pillowcases and blankets. She added carpets and furniture must also be vacuumed and non-washable items, like stuffed animals, should be sealed in a plastic bag for several weeks. To get rid of lice, however, parents must first recognize the problem. "See if your child has lice by sitting him or her under a bright light and separating hair into sections," said Mirmirani in a news release ... Read more

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New Treatment For Head Lice?

Posted 31 Oct 2012 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 31 – A new topical lotion may offer parents a faster, more effective way to get rid of head lice. Researchers report that just one treatment of topical ivermectin, an insecticide, kept almost three-quarters of treated children lice-free two weeks after treatment. That was without the dreaded fine-toothed combing to remove the lice eggs (nits) that leaves so many children in tears. "This is a new agent that requires a one-time application that shows no resistance yet," said study author Dr. David Pariser, a professor of dermatology at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va. "Current treatments are only about 50 percent effective. This is a one-time treatment with higher effectiveness than anything else that's out there." Results of the study, which was sponsored by the drug's manufacturer, appear in the Nov. 1 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The ... Read more

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Health Tip: Help Keep Head Lice From Coming Back

Posted 16 Oct 2012 by Drugs.com

-- Head lice are small, wingless parasitic insects that feast on tiny amounts of blood sucked from the human scalp. They don't spread disease, but the itchy bites they leave behind can trigger misery and infection. The Nemours Foundation offers these suggestions to help get rid of lice: Wash any recently worn clothing or recently used linens in water of at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Follow with 20 minutes in the dryer on a very hot cycle. Dryclean any linens, stuffed animals or clothes that can't be washed. Or, seal them in an airtight bag for at least two weeks. Use a vacuum to clean upholstery or carpet inside your home or car. Discard combs, brushes, barrettes, hair elastics and other hair accessories used by a person with lice infestation. Or, soak them for one hour in alcohol, very hot water or medicated shampoo. Read more

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Head, Body Lice Are Genetically Very Similar

Posted 12 Apr 2012 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, April 12 – Genetic evidence suggests that head and body lice are the same species, a new study says. The finding is significant because body lice transmit deadly bacterial diseases while head lice do not, the researchers explained. The researchers compared the number and sequences of all the protein-coding genes expressed at each life-cycle stage of head and body lice and found that the two organisms were very similar. "The differences in their sequences were so minor that if we didn't know they were separate groups, we would have considered them the same species," study leader Barry Pittendrigh, an entomology professor at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, said in a university news release. "As body lice transmit diseases and head lice don't, this system provides a unique opportunity to understand subtle changes that allow body lice to transmit human diseases," ... Read more

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Prescription Shampoo Approved to Treat Head Lice

Posted 8 Feb 2012 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 8 – Sklice Lotion, a prescription-strength shampoo to treat head lice, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for people six months and older, the French product maker Sanofi said. The shampoo contains ivermectin, which traditionally is prescribed in pill form to treat worm infections, the Associated Press reported. The product's safety and effectiveness were evaluated in clinical studies involving more than 780 people. After two weeks, most participants who had been lice infested did not require daily combing to remove lice eggs, the wire service reported. The most common adverse reactions included eye infection and irritation, dandruff and dry skin. Lice are small, blood-sucking insects that cause itching from the saliva they inject into the scalp and nearby areas to prevent premature clotting. Infestations are spread by direct contact or by shared ... Read more

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Sanofi Announces FDA Approval of Sklice Lotion for the Treatment of Head Lice

Posted 7 Feb 2012 by Drugs.com

BRIDGEWATER, N.J., Feb. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – Sanofi announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Sklice (ivermectin) lotion, 0.5% for the topical treatment of head lice, in patients 6 months of age and older. Effective and well-tolerated, Sklice Lotion treats lice in most patients with a single 10-minute application of the lotion, without nit combing. "The approval of Sklice Lotion provides physicians and parents with a new treatment option for head lice, a condition that is notoriously frustrating to treat," said Kenneth P. Guito, General Manager, Sanofi-Topaz. "Through a unique mode of action, Sklice Lotion resolves most head lice infestations in one application, and is very well-tolerated." Sklice will be commercialized by Sanofi Pasteur U.S., an established leader in the pediatric area with an extensive heritage of bringing innovative solutions to ... Read more

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Dealing With Head Lice

Posted 6 Feb 2012 by Drugs.com

SUNDAY, Feb. 5 – Although there is a stigma associated with having head lice, infestations with these small insects are common and nothing to be ashamed of, according to Dr. Hannah Chow-Johnson, a pediatrician at Loyola University Health System. Chow-Johnson knows from firsthand experience. Her own kids came home with lice one day. "There is no shame in having lice. In fact, they are attracted to clean, shiny hair so the assumption that only unclean people have lice is false," said Chow-Johnson, also an assistant professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, in a university news release. "I had treated kids with lice in clinic, but it wasn't until my own kids brought those scratchy, nasty bugs into our house that I truly understood their impact." The size of a grain of rice, lice lay small whitish or brownish eggs called nits that stick to hair shafts ... Read more

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FDA Approves Natroba Head Lice Treatment for Children and Adults

Posted 19 Jan 2011 by Drugs.com

ROCKVILLE, Md., Jan. 18, 2011--The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Natroba (spinosad) Topical Suspension 0.9% for the treatment of head lice infestation in patients ages 4 years and older. Head lice are parasitic insects found on people's head, eyebrows, and eyelashes. They feed on human blood several times a day but are not known to cause disease. Head lice are spread mainly by direct head-to-head contact with a person who already has head lice. Lice move by crawling and can easily travel from child to child because children play closely together and often in large groups. "Natroba provides another option for the topical treatment of head lice infestations, which are especially prevalent in the pediatric population," said Julie Beitz, M.D., director of the Office of Drug Evaluation III in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Head lice is a common p ... Read more

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Back to School Can Mean a Return to Head Lice Worries

Posted 12 Sep 2010 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Sept. 10 – They're the ultimate creepy crawler. Creatures that truly give people the willies. And they're apt to make you feel unclean, or maybe even a bad parent (neither of which, experts say, is valid). Head lice truly are nasty little buggers – parasitic insects that infest the head, eyebrows and eyelashes of their human hosts and cause the creepiest tickling sensation along the scalp. They're a worldwide phenomenon, but in the United States they infect mostly school-age children, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health experts estimate that 6 million to 12 million U.S. kids, 3 to 11 years old, get infested each year. Vigilance is the key to heading off an infestation, said Deborah Altschuler, president of the National Pediculosis Association, a nonprofit group aimed at head lice prevention. "The best way is to know what to look for, screen ... Read more

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Genome for Human Body Lice Unlocked

Posted 21 Jun 2010 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, June 21 – Scientists who sequenced the genome of human body lice say their research will help improve understanding about the blood-sucking parasite's biology and evolution, and potentially lead to better control methods. Body lice, which live in clothing and can spread bacterial diseases, thrive during economic downturns, wars and other crises that force people to live in unsanitary conditions. The multi-center team of researchers found that the body louse, which is closely related to the head louse, has the smallest known genome of any insect. This likely reflects its somewhat protected habitat and predictable diet, said University of Illinois entomology professor Barry Pittendrigh. "The ecology of lice is very, very simple. It either lives in your hair or on your clothing, and it has one type of meal, and that's blood. So most of the genes that are responsible for sensing or ... Read more

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For Tough Head Lice, Pill Tops Lotion

Posted 11 Mar 2010 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, March 10 – In children with hard-to-treat head lice, the oral medication ivermectin is more effective than the standard treatment, the topical cream malathion, new research finds. The study, published in the March 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, found that 95 percent of those treated with ivermectin were lice-free after two weeks compared to 85 percent of those using malathion. "Ivermectin may be a good alternative to malathion when topical insecticide resistance is suspected," the study authors wrote. The researchers caution that ivermectin generally shouldn't be used as a first-line treatment, but instead suggest that it be reserved for treatment-resistant lice. Overuse of ivermectin might lead to lice developing resistance to this medication as well. Between 6 million and 12 million American schoolchildren are infested with head lice each year, the U.S. ... Read more

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To Rid Heads of Lice, Wet-Combing May Work Best

Posted 16 Mar 2009 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, March 16 – Wet-combing a child's hair is better than a visual inspection for detecting active head lice infestation, according to German researchers. They compared the two methods in 304 students, ages 6 to 12. Each child first underwent a visual inspection, in which an applicator stick was used to part the hair at the temples, behind the ears and on the neck. A second researcher, who didn't know the results of the visual inspection, then applied a conditioner to wet the hair and combed from hair roots to ends with a fine-toothed comb. The conditioner collected by the comb was wiped on white sanitary paper and any objects collected by the conditioner were examined with a magnifying glass. Overall, eggs or larvae, called nits, were detected in about 26 percent of the children, and adult or nymph lice were detected in 7 percent. "Visual inspection underestimated the true ... Read more

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