Remedies for head lice include over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, and home remedies such as wet combing and essential oils, according to Mayo Clinic. Care must be taken to avoid side effects.
Over-the-counter medications used to treat head lice include permethrin and pyrethrin, states Mayo Clinic. . Prior to applying these medications, the patient's hair should be rinsed with white vinegar and washed with shampoo. The medication should sit on the hair according to the manufacturer's instructions and then rinsed off with warm water. For better results, this process should be repeated according to a doctor's recommended schedule.
Prescription medications are appropriate when over-the-counter medications fail, says Mayo Clinic. These medications include benzyl alcohol and malathion. Benzyl alcohol suffocates and kills lice. However, it is not suitable for children under 6 months because it causes severe reactions and seizures. Malathion is appropriate for adults and children 6 years and above. To use it, one should apply it to the hair, then allow it to dry for about eight hours before rinsing.
Wet combing involves wetting the hair and lubricating it before combing with a fine-toothed nit comb to remove lice and nits, as noted by Mayo Clinic. This process should be repeated every three days until lice disappear. Tea tree oil, nerolidol and anise oil can be applied to the hair to kill lice.