Family Health Guide

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Lice: Treatment

Lice will not go away on their own, but “it’s very important for parents to understand that these bugs do not carry any infection, cannot transmit an infection and are not that contagious,” says Bocchini. “I know parents want to get rid of them quickly, but it’s not an emergency to treat this.”

Which means you have time to consider your options (although there will be some schools and daycare centers that will continue to not allow a child to return until the lice are gone, in spite of the new AAP recommendations).

There are two main approaches to treating lice. One is using over-the-counter or prescription pesticides that come in shampoo or crème rinse forms to kill all the bugs and nits in your child’s hair. The other is trying non-medicated approaches such as thorough combing with specialized nit combs, or suffocating the lice with products such as Cetaphil or petroleum jelly.