Old-fashioned methods best at getting rid of head lice in children

Published on August 15, 2005 at 7:40 AM · No Comments

Old-fashioned methods of getting rid of head lice in children are far more effective than current chemical treatments, researchers revealed recently.

Using a fine-tooth comb and conditioner on wet hair was four times more effective than popular chemical-based treatments like lotions and shampoo.

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) researcher Dr Nigel Hill said: "Millions of pounds are spent each year by desperate parents or through NHS prescriptions on lice treatments and many seem to be virtually useless.

"It's clear insecticide treatments are not working very well at all and if you speak to parents and school nurses they will confirm that."

Dr Hill explained that lice had become resistant to the insecticides most commonly used to kill them.

He said: "Chemical treatments were very effective when they first came out, but lice have become resistant. That situation is not going to improve - if anything, it will get worse."

The research team at LSHTM tested the "bug busting" fine tooth comb method and chemical treatments in a group of 126 children with head lice.

A total of 56 were allocated the comb-and-conditioner "Bug Buster" kit, while 70 were given insecticide-based treatments. The results were assessed two to four days after the end of treatment.

Questionnaires to determine compliance with the instructions, satisfaction and to obtain background information were also filled out by parents. The results are published in this week's edition of the prestigious British Medical Journal.

The "Bug Buster" treatment showed a 57 percent success rate compared to just 13 percent for insecticide treatment.

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