How are topical treatments administered for pediculosis (lice infestation)?

Updated: Aug 16, 2019
  • Author: Lyn C C Guenther, MD, FRCPC, FAAD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Medicated lotions or shampoos may be used to eliminate head lice. Empiric treatment of all contacts is not needed; only contacts with confirmed infestation should also be treated; however, prophylactic treatment of bedmates of an infested individual is prudent. [4] Re-treatment after 7-10 days is recommended with many agents to eradicate any lice that hatched from nits after the initial treatment. It is important to read the instructions before applying the pediculicide to ensure that the medication has been left on for the appropriate amount of time and washed off properly.

Hair conditioner and combination shampoo/conditioner products should not be used prior to pediculicide application, and the hair should not be re-washed for 1-2 days after the pediculicide is removed. [4] Hair conditioners may prevent binding of the pediculicides to the hair shafts. After treatment, the infested individual should put on clean clothing.

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