6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, Tips to Manage and Avoid Lice

(ABC 6 NEWS) – Lice, just the word can make anyone’s head feel itchy! Every year, according to an estimate from the CDC, between 6 and 12 million children get head lice!

But as annoying as they are, they are not dangerous.

“Lice do not transmit any disease, but they can spread easily from person to person, and their bites can make the scalp itchy and irritated, and sometimes the scratching can lead to infection,” Catherine Roberts from Consumer Reports said.

If a friend, relative, or your child’s school or camp reports a head lice infestation, inspect your child right away! Look for tiny yellow or white colored eggs or nits.

“Over the counter products like permethrin, are unlikely to offer much relief because many to most lice are now resistant to those chemicals – and certain other prescription pesticide treatments like Malathion and Lindane can have concerning side effects,” Roberts said.

Some studies show that a non-pesticide ingredient, Dimethicone, found in products such as Nix Ultra and LiceMD, can kill lice by suffocating them.

“One of the best methods for many kids is combing out lice from wet hair, as long as your child’s hair can tolerate it. If not, also likely effective: prescription topical Spinosad, or Natroba, and over-the-counter topical Ivermectin,” Roberts said.

For combing you will need to shampoo, then use a lubricant like a conditioner or olive oil to make the hair easy to comb. Separate the hair into small sections. Then, comb the hair with the thin toothed metal comb, concentrating on the area close to the scalp.

“The space in the metal comb has to be small enough for a single hair to go through but not an egg,” Roberts said.

As you work, wipe the comb on a paper towel and inspect for lice. Keep combing until you no longer find any lice, then rinse hair with water.