Research Scientist

Study Sheds New Light on Pediatric Head Lice Treatment

lice_nadine_cropJune 22, 2015 10:44 AM
A new study conducted by the Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® at Hackensack University Medical Center, challenges the long-held assumption that pesticide-based lice treatments are the best way to eradicate infestations. Read more


Click here to read published study


Head Lice Tips:

  • Prevention is key: teach kids not to share personal items that come into contact with their hair, such as combs, hair clips and hats. For other prevention tips, visit the National Pediculosis Association.
  • If you suspect your child has head lice, look for a pesticide-free product. There are several options available at pharmacies, big box retailers, and larger grocery stores. Many of these stores sell at least one pesticide-free option. 
  • Another treatment option is a head-lice hair salon, or nit picker, who will eradicate lice in a salon-type setting, or will come to your home. Ensure they use a pesticide-free method of lice removal. Be sure to look into cost and if the service provides a guarantee.
  • If your child is diagnosed by a doctor who opts to write a prescription, ask what pesticide-free options are available. The American Academy of Pediatrics now discusses dimethicone (the same substance used in our research study) as an option.


Home care tips from the AAP:

  •  Extreme environmental clean-up does not appear to lessen the spread of lice. However, washing pillow cases may be useful. Spending excessive time and money on housecleaning activities is not necessary to avoid re-infestation by lice or nits that may have fallen off the head or crawled onto furniture or clothing.
  • Common sense should guide you if you wish to do anything more.
  • You may avoid lying on beds, couches, pillows, carpets, or stuffed animals that have been in immediate contact with an untreated, infested person.
  • You may choose to machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that an untreated, infested person wore or used during the 2 days before treatment using the hot water (130°F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry-cleaned OR sealed in a plastic bag and stored for 2 weeks.
  • You may vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the untreated, infested person sat or lay.
  • Be sure other members of the household including dual households and yourself are examined and treated for head lice if needed.
  • Do not use pest sprays and fogs in the house.
  • They are not necessary to control head lice and can be harmful if they are inhaled or get into the skin, especially on young children.
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