Q. My kids and I have a major problem with lice. We have spent lots of time and money fighting them, but it doesn’t seem to be doing any good.
Nix and Rid (at $10 an ounce) are supposed to kill lice, but the lice are still alive after using these products. Then we wait another week or 10 days to spend another $70 to $90 to do it all over again. Two of my daughters have long thick hair that requires two bottles each.
A friend has recommended kerosene, but that freaks me out. Isn’t there a more natural way to free us from nit-picking?
A. DO NOT use kerosene to kill lice. It is toxic and a dangerous fire hazard.
Lice have developed resistance to many of the common treatments used against them. The FDA has just approved a new prescription lice medication. It will take multiple bottles to treat your daughters’ long thick hair.
The new treatment, Ulesfia, contains benzyl alcohol as the active ingredient. This compound interferes with the critters’ respiration, so lice are unlikely to develop resistance.
Many parents tell us that Listerine works against lice. It contains ethyl alcohol along with a number of herbal oils that seem to kill lice. One reader reported:
“I recently found lice and nits in my 7-year-old’s hair. When I tried the product the school nurse recommended, it did nothing.
“I tried soaking the hair with Listerine and rinsing with vinegar. IT WORKED! I wish I had known sooner.”
Neither Ulesfia nor Listerine kills nits, so the treatment needs to be repeated after they’ve had a chance to hatch.