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Help a Mom: New drug kills lice in one treatment; what's worked for you?

Posted November 6, 2012

Apologies up front if your head starts itching after reading this ...

Lice, that common annoyance of childhood, has a new enemy. It's ivermectin, a drug used since the 1980s for parasitic diseases. A study has found that a single application of an ivermectin lotion kills lice in three out of four children and with no nit picking. The product is being marketed as Sklice and is available by prescription only.

Read this Reuters story for more information about the drug and the study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week.

Let's just say that I have some experience with this scourge and any drug that might work the first time is big news for my household. We have used Nix lice treatment, combined with vigilant nit picking, successfully, but I know that there are concerns that some lice are becoming resistant to medication.

I have a friend who successfully used Cetaphil, a three-week treatment described here in The New York Times. A Go Ask Mom Facebook fan said she successfully used a mayonnaise treatment as well.

Here's how she described the treatment: A nurse told me to slather my daughter's head in mayonnaise before bed and then cover it with a shower cap secured with hair elastics. From the Dollar Store, this treatment was $2 and I had a pile of leftover shower caps for the next time. In the morning, we got in the shower and the dead bugs poured out of her hair. Sheets and towels washed it hot water and we were good to go. This works because the mayo suffocates them. They can only hold their breath for like an hour. After that, they die.

Has lice hit your household? What treatment worked for you?

Please share your tips in the comments box below. (If you don't see the comments box below, you'll need to log in or sign up for a WRAL account. You can do that by going to the top of the page and clicking on either "log in" or "register").

Help a Mom features questions from readers every Wednesday. If you have a question that you'd like to ask Go Ask Mom readers, click here to email it to me.

16 Comments

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  • Mtog Nov 7, 4:25 p.m.

    I used olive oil slathered onto my daughter's scalp and into the rest of her hair after an OTC treatment did not smother the live lice.Olive oil was put on and wrapped in a plastic grocery bag for 45 minutes.Had her stand in shower while I combed hair out,rinsed,shampooed...combed.Then got EVERY last nit out, otherwise I knew they would just hatch and start the whole nightmare all over again. I never got it form her & I never went crazy cleaning the house either. YOU HAVE TO GET EVERY LAST NIT OUT.

  • americaneel Nov 7, 1:46 p.m.

    Mix of vinegar, mayonnaise, salad dressing (thousand island works best), shampoo and tree sap

  • lilypony Nov 7, 1:04 p.m.

    I'm the mom that used they mayo - We used two different over the counter remedies first and still had tons of live bugs when done. We tried a homeopathic cream that contained tea tree oil and the lice laughed at it. We did use a lice comb to remove the nits and had complete success. When she got them again several months later, it worked again. It is vital with any remedy to treat the environment as well as remove the nits. The biggest thing is being aware of when you've got an insecticide-resistant batch of bugs and try a different approach rather than re-exposing your child to chemicals that aren't working.

  • mmbench Nov 7, 10:50 a.m.

    We've had it three times in the last 18 months. We have used almost all the remedies listed below, however I strongly feel that nit picking is the ONLY guaranteed way to get rid of it. Yes, mayonnaise and all the other things can kill the bugs, but you still need to get the unhatched eggs. Unfortunately, if everyone in your child's class is not as diligent, reinfestation can occur no matter how good a of a job you did.

    The last time around, I had it as well. I did not feel confident in my husband's ability to nit pick my own hair and went to Pediatric Lice Solutions in Cary. They use a heat/air treatment that takes about 30 minutes. I had them treat me, but I continued to comb out my girls' hair every day for about 3 weeks.

    I can also recommend Helping Hands as I had them come for a head check the first time to make sure we were clean, but I was unable to find their contact information the last time.

  • missparrothead Nov 7, 10:00 a.m.

    A day after the LICE treatment kit , leave vinegar on hair for a few mins after shampooing, then rinse. Lotsa hairspray, and put hair into ponytail, if possible. Hairspray suffocates lice.

  • Lovestosave Nov 7, 9:52 a.m.

    We having been dealing with lice since July. What I used two weeks ago was coconut shampoo with Tee tree oil (8-10 drops). I hope it worked. The Nix and prescription medication did not work for us and we kept getting reinfestation.

  • PRGuy Nov 7, 9:41 a.m.

    Listerine (the old yellow liquid) and a shower cap. One of the remedies from the People's Pharmacy.

  • msnfnp Nov 7, 9:12 a.m.

    Tar-based shampoo, leave in for 5 minutes then rinse and use Suave coconut conditioner. Got a variation of this from the People's Pharmacy website.

  • mama2two Nov 7, 8:43 a.m.

    the Cetaphil treatment worked for us, as well. there is no way i would put the over the counter treatments on my child.

  • dukefan4 Nov 7, 8:42 a.m.

    Lice Freee!!! (yes, the product is spelled with 3 e's) When my daughter came home with lice in April I freaked out. I've never had it and the thought of it grossed me out. I went on Amazon to find the best reviews for products and this one had the best feedback. What's even better is that it is completely non-toxic, homeopathic and environmentally safe (yay!) It comes in a spray bottle WITH the lice/nit comb. It smells like black licorice, but isn't bad at all. You just spray it on dry hair and saturate it good, then start combing. It worked the very first time and I never had to go back and re-treat. If anyone in our household gets lice again, there is no question about it - I will buy Lice Freee!! Also, I bought it at Walgreens for $10, but I've also seen it at Wal-Mart.

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