Ask the Pharmacist: HEAD LICE


Question: My 8 years old daughter lately developed into an itchy scalp. I am so bothered that she might have head lice (kuto). I don’t know how she gets it since I wash her hair every day. What can I do about it?
                                                                                       


Answer: Hearing the word head lice can gives shiver to anyone. What more if you found out that your child have it? I can imagine your reaction. But head lice infestation is common to children and they can get it once or twice. Though, it is not a sign of poor hygiene since lice do not have preferences whether clean or dirty hair.

You are not really sure that head lice are the cause of the itchy scalp. It may be due to other reasons. So the best thing to do at this stage is to check if there are lice. With the use of fine tooth comb (suyod), comb your daughter’s hair. It is best to do this after washing and conditioning the hair. Lay down a white sheet of paper and comb the hair over it. Pay attention at the nape and behind ears, for these are the parts which head lice likes to stay most. After combing for about 10 minutes, you will be looking for the live lice on the white paper or at the teeth of the comb. If you find live lice infecting the scalp, you need to treat your daughter. In this case, you also need to check the rest of the family. If you find live lice with any member of the family; they need to be treated at the same time.

There are products available over-the counter to treat head lice. It is always recommended to follow the instructions of each preparation.

1.      Kwell Reformulated Shampoo (Non-Rx)
Content: Permethrin
How to use: Apply enough shampoo to cover the hair and scalp. Leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse thoroughly with water. Use a fine-toothed comb to remove dead lice and eggs.
Packing: Kwell Reformulated Shampoo 10 mg/1 mL x 30mL
                 Kwell Reformulated Shampoo 10 mg/1 mL x 60mL
2.       Licealiz (Regular Shampoo) (Non-Rx)
Content: Pyrethrin
How to use: Apply sufficient amount to cover the hair and scalp. Gently massage and leave the shampoo on hair for 10 minutes. Then, rinse thoroughly with water. Use a fine-toothed comb to remove dead lice and eggs. Use twice a week for 2 weeks to treat head lice and once a week to prevent recurrence.
Packing: Licealiz Regular 20 mg/10 mL x 10 mL
                Licealiz Regular 20mg/10 mL x 60 mL
3.       Licealiz (Soothing Coolness Shampoo) (Non-Rx)
Content: Pyrethrin
How to use: Apply sufficient amount to cover the hair and scalp. Gently massage and leave the shampoo on hair for 10 minutes. Then, rinse thoroughly with water. Use a fine-toothed comb to remove dead lice and eggs. Use twice a week for 2 weeks to treat head lice and once a week to prevent recurrence.
Packing: Licealiz Soothing Coolness 20 mg/10 mL x 10 mL
                Licealiz Soothing Coolness 20 mg/10 mL x 20 mL
4.       United Home Sulfur Ointment (Non-Rx)
Content: Sulfur
How to use: Apply twice daily.
Packing: United Home Sulfur 10% x 15 grams
                United Home Sulfur 10% x 30 grams
                                                                                Photo Courtesy of Joanna Ibarra




Remember that head lice treatments are more successful at eradicating live lice than killing the eggs. That is why, it is recommended to re-treat your child’s hair with the same product after 7 days to kill any remaining insects. Further fine combing will possibly remove eggs that have been stuck after the treatment. If after the second treatment, you still find live lice, you should change the product you are using with another one having different content. Go back to the list above or consult your local pharmacist if you are not sure.



To help prevent future infestations, use tea tree oil or shampoo. They normally chase the bugs away.





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13 comments:

  1. If the treatment you are using is a pediculicidal which kills just the live lice, it is best to repeat the treatment after 9 days due to the fact that it takes 8.5 days for the eggs to hatch. Usually, the manufacturer's give instructions that treatment should be repeated after 7 days.

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  2. Itchiness from louse infestation is due to sensitivity the host develops when the louse saliva is injected into the host, it usually takes 4 to 6 weeks for the sensitivity and itching to manifest.

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. lice are gross ever...i haven't seen them in the closer look until now...i'm thankful i haven't been contaminated with that itchy sucking insects..i'm totally free of it...

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  5. This reminds me of my childhood sis, in our place kasi you will see a lot of kids with it and it's gross but very common.

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  6. Ang kuto ...Bow! Suyod lang katapat nyan at gasolina. LOl Thanks for sharing anti-lice products.

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  7. It still baffles me how almost every female kid gets lice at one point in their growing up years. I remember having lice when I was in elementary and I also remember too well that I was seated next to a classmate who had long hair and plenty of lice. My sister, other playmates and even cousins had them too! And when my daughter was growing up, she had them too!

    I used Kwell and some other brand I bought here in the UAE. It was a continuous shampoo routine for her until the head lice were eliminated. And yes, the "suyod" is our best friend when it comes to removing lice. I still keep one, just in case...

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  8. oh wow, i love you how shared these information, very helpful. i remember my mom back when i was younger would firmly require me to sit next to her, so she can check if i have lice. whenever it was check up day, i hated it then because i did not like the feel of "suyod", but when i finally understood everything that my mom then was doing, I really appreciated it and so thankful for her regular check up on us.

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  9. this is common to kids. Some adults can also get these even if they don't suffer poor hygiene. Just make use of the fine tooth comb once in a while and use some shampoo that can eliminate the lice. It will take a while before you can totally eliminate the lice but patience is a virtue, right? :)

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  10. Ugh! looking at the magnified photo of it makes me shiver!:) but yeah, my son got those too when we went back to Philippines and I think got it from my niece who has it. But I used the lice away from the pharmacy and with only one application, it's all gone:)

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  11. nice that these days lots of available products over the counter to get rid of them, dati wala...suyod lang or cut your hair so short. :) i am not lucky to be free with it, had it when i was in highschool, no choice but cut my hair really-really short one summer...its like semi-bald, lucky that it was somehow in that time, pinauso ni cacai velasquez, hehehe! :)

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  12. ayay, by looking at it makes my head itchy...ehehhe! usually, kids get them in school.

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