A case of lice at home? Yikes! say most parents.

But the American Academy of Pediatrics offers this calming advice: Lice are neither a health hazard nor a sign of poor hygiene. Safe and effective treatments do exist. Here are additional suggestions:

  • Contact your pediatrician if you are unsure whether your child has head lice.

  • Use an over-the-counter treatment, such as permethrin 1% or pyrethrins for an active lice infestation if there is no known resistance to these treatments in your community.

  • Repeat permethrin 1% treatment nine days after the initial treatment.

  • Read and adhere to the instructions accompanying any product or treatment.

  • Contact your pediatrician if over-the-counter or prescription treatments are not effective.

  • Keep lice in perspective — your child is neither sick nor in danger of illness.

  • Treat your child without a firm diagnosis of head lice — even if a close friend or classmate has lice; doing so contributes to treatment resistance.

  • Keep your child home from school because of nits or lice.

  • Engage in monumental cleaning efforts to rid your home of lice. Time and effort are better focused on your child’s head.

©2010 American Academy of Pediatrics. This information may be freely copied and distributed with proper attribution.