Q. My grandchildren started scratching their heads several weeks ago. Upon careful examination, we discovered they had lice.
Their parents have been diligent in using lice shampoo, combing out nits and washing the bedding, to no avail. Are there any more effective strategies besides over-the-counter lice shampoos? My daughter is desperate.
A. Lice in the U.S. have developed some degree of resistance to insecticides such as permethrin or pyrethrin found in many OTC lice shampoos. Relatively new prescription treatments are effective but pricey. They include Ulesfia (benzyl alcohol), Sklice (ivermectin) and Natroba (spinosad). A treatment can run from $250 to $300.
Many visitors to our website report success with alternative approaches. Some drench the hair in old-fashioned amber Listerine for half an hour or so (wrapping the hair in a towel). The dead lice and nits are combed out.
Another option is Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. One reader shared her technique: “We put Cetaphil in dry hair, comb the excess out and then blow-dry the hair. We leave it in for at least 24 hours and then shampoo it out. We also comb to check for nits, and do a follow-up treatment 7 days later to catch any bugs that hatched from eggs.”
There are a few other home remedies to help families get rid of persistent infestations in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. Look for it in your library if you like, and tell us what treatments have worked for your family in the comment section below.