Head lice are tiny, wingless insects that infest and feed on the hair and scalp. They are highly contagious and spread through close personal contact and sharing of personal items like brushes, hats, and pillows. Lice infestations are common, especially in school-aged children. According to the CDC, there are 6-12 million infestations each year in the US among kids aged 3-11. Getting head lice leads to an itchy scalp, but also often carries a social stigma. Many feel embarrassed or ashamed if their child gets sent home from school for lice. The good news is that with prompt, effective treatment, lice can be eliminated. But first, you need to choose the right lice removal method. Over-the-counter shampoos, professional lice removal service, and home remedies can all be effective if applied thoroughly. The key is finding the lice removal method that best fits your budget and comfort level.
Types of Lice Removal Methods
There are several methods available for getting rid of head lice, each with their own pros and cons.
The most common over-the-counter lice shampoos contain either permethrin or pyrethrins as active ingredients. Popular brand names include Nix and Rid. These medicated shampoos kill live lice but they must be applied thoroughly and often require repeat applications.
Prescription topical treatments like Ulesfia and Natroba contain synthetic versions of insect-killing chemicals found in chrysanthemum flowers. These can be more effective than OTC shampoos for resistant lice.
Manual combing and nitpicking
Many people attempt manual lice removal by combing through the hair with a nit comb or picking out nits by hand. This is very tedious and time-consuming.
Natural or home remedies like vinegar, tea tree oil, and mayonnaise involve coating the hair to try to suffocate the lice. However, these remedies are often messier and less effective than other options.
Heat & Laser treatment
Newer treatments like the AirAllé heat device or laser combs like the Larashoot XL zap lice with controlled heat or laser lights. These can kill lice and eggs in one session. Though infestations often clear up faster with consistent, thorough treatment.
Professional Lice Treatment Services
Specialized lice treatment clinics and salons provide professional-grade products and services to get rid of head lice quickly and effectively. These clinics have licensed professionals who are specifically trained in applying FDA-approved products and techniques to kill lice and nits. The typical process involves an initial evaluation and diagnosis, applying a prescription-strength pediculicidal rinse, followed by thorough combing with a nit comb to remove all nits. Many salons use AirAllé medical devices that kill lice and eggs by exposing them to controlled heat. Others may use a Larashoot XL laser comb. Professional lice treatment price range from $120 to $300 on average, depending on the clinic location and specific services provided. While more expensive than over-the-counter options, professional services offer guaranteed effectiveness and often require just a single 1-2 hour treatment, compared to multiple applications of OTC shampoos over weeks. They completely eliminate the hassle and frustration of handling treatments at home. The products and tools used by lice removal professionals, like medical-grade combs, are also far superior to what consumers can purchase in stores. For severe or persistent lice cases, paying a premium for professional lice treatment services can provide peace of mind that the infestation will be cured.
Do-It-Yourself Lice Removal Costs and Tips
You may ask yourself “Will lice go away on its own?”, and the answer is obviously no. Some people trying to remove lice at homen and that can be an affordable option, with over-the-counter medicated shampoos typically costing between $10-$15. Popular brand-name products like Nix and Rid contain pediculicides that kill live lice after one application, though repeat use is often needed. Many people attempt manual removal using a fine-tooth comb to pick out nits and lice from the hair strands. This is time-consuming but costs nothing. Home remedy treatments use household items like vinegar, mayonnaise, tea tree oil, or olive oil to try smothering and removing nits. These ingredients are likely already in your kitchen. For any do-it-yourself lice treatment to be effective, thorough combing and repeat applications are key. To get rid of lice for good, diligently comb the full head of hair, section by section to remove all traces of nits. Apply OTC shampoo or home remedies at least 2-3 times on days 7, 10, and 13 after the initial treatment. Also, disinfect personal items and household surfaces to prevent re-infestation. While lice won’t fully disappear on their own, consistent do-it-yourself removal can eliminate an infestation without spending money on professional services.
The Importance of Following Up
Getting rid of lice requires continued vigilance even after treatment. Keep combing and rechecking the hair for any traces of eggs or nits that may have been missed. Schedule repeat treatments with topical lice shampoos or home remedies after 7-10 days to kill any newly hatched lice from eggs not removed initially. While lice won’t go away completely on their own, staying diligent with follow-up combing and re-treatment is key. Also take steps to prevent reinfestation by washing clothes, bedding, and disinfecting personal items and furniture regularly.
In short, getting rid of lice requires using medicated shampoos, thorough nit combing, and diligent follow-up. Explore both professional services and do-it-yourself options to find the most effective lice removal plan. Consult a doctor if symptoms persist despite treatment efforts, as prescription options may be needed. Search for lice removal services Houston or your local area for professional assistance.