Health Kids: Head Lice

Author: WINK News
Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Head lice and its resistance to common treatments is in the news this week.

Dr. Annette St. Pierre-MacKoul stopped WINK News This Morning to discuss this and more.

Head Lice:

Infests 6-12 million U.S. children per year.
Parasites are mutating and resisting to some common treatments.
25/30 states report resistant lice
Lives on scalps and feeds on blood several times per day.


Spread through direct contact – common among students.
Treatment with insecticides = Permethrin
Kills lice and eggs / Lice mutate and get resistant
Can live for 30 days on a scalp
Lice are a nuisance = they do not cause disease

Home Remedies that work:

Suffocate and remove lice and eggs:
Olive Oil
Petroleum Jelly
Essential Oils: Lavender (+Olive Oil)
Tea Tree Oil – watch side effects
Other essential oils: Anise, Ylang ylang, Nerolidol

Prevention of Lice:

Hang garments on separate hooks from other’s.
Do not share combs, brushes, hats and scarves.
Add a few drops of Tea Tree Oil to shampoos.
Lice likes clean hair – put product in hair.

Medical Treatments:

OTC meds and retreat 9 days later.
Combing of the hair with lice comb or tweezers.
Repeat combing every 3-4 days for 3 weeks.
Lice cannot live off a human host more than 2 days.

Household Treatments:

Wash all items in contact with lice in HOT water.
Clean combs, brushes and hair accessories in HOT water.
Seal items in a plastic bag for 2 weeks.


Using OTC products more than directed.
No flammable products like kerosene or gasoline.

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