Lice removal times and costs vary depending on the thickness of your child’s hair, the treatment option you choose, and the severity of head lice infestation. But first, you should identify which family members have it to get the most accurate estimate.
Symptoms of Head Lice
If your child has lice, in most probability she got it from a family member, friend, or a classmate. Sharing items such as combs, towels, brushes, and hats, as well as sitting close and sharing a bed, can cause lice to spread. However, head to head contact is the most common infection method. The symptoms of head lice may not show for up to five weeks from initial lice infestation.
· Itchy scalp
· A feeling of something crawling on your head
· Sores due to intense scratching.
· Difficulty in sleeping.
Head lice should immediately be treated to prevent them from spreading.
How to Kill Head Lice
1. Professional Treatment. Head lice treatment clinics, centers, or services.
2. Home Remedies. Olive oil, tea tree oil, coconut oil, thyme oil, sesame oil, garlic mayonnaise, petroleum jelly. These are applied in the dry hair and allowed to stay for a few hours before rinsing.
3. Over-the-Counter Products. Pyrethrin combined with another chemical to make it more toxic to lice and permethrin, the synthetic version of pyrethrin.
4. Medical Prescriptions. Ivermectin, Benzyl Alcohol, Malathion, Spinosad, and Lindane. These medications come as shampoos and are applied on dry hair and allowed to stay for a few hours before rinsing.
5. Lice Removal Devices. These are mechanical devices that come as combs or vacuums or dryers.
It is recommended to avoid using the same treatment more than twice. Use only one type of medication at a time, too.
How long does it take to remove lice?
Getting rid of head lice can be a daunting task. It does not, however, need to take forever to battle head lice infestation as long as a thorough job is done the first time. How long it will take to remove lice depends on these factors:
· Type of treatment
· Hair length, thickness, and curly or kinkiness
· Number of family members with head lice
· Lice spreading in school
· If everyone is treated at once or at different times
Getting rid of head lice through a lice treatment clinic or center may take only one treatment. The length of the treatment depends on the severity of lice infestation. A second appointment may be required to check for re-infestation.
If you opt for home remedies, your child should be lice-and-nit-free two weeks or so after the initial treatment. A second treatment is needed one week after the first treatment.
Lice products & prescriptions
If after two weeks and the lice and nits are not gone, try OTC products. OTC products will require two treatments. A second treatment is done 9 days after the first treatment to kill the remaining lice and nits from the first treatment.
OTC products often fail because sometimes the medication is not kept on the scalp long enough to make it effective or the OTC products are not used properly as indicated.
Of the prescription medications, only Ivermectin kills lice with a single treatment. All the rest may need second treatments a few days or weeks after the first.
How much does it cost to remove lice?
Most lice treatment clinics, centers, or services charge per hour or family member. It usually takes about an hour to an hour and a half and only one visit to treat head lice. Severe lice infestation would take much longer.
OTC, prescription medications for head lice as well as treatment clinics can be costly. Most Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA) provide reimbursement for head lice treatment. You, however, need to check with your provider if head lice services and remediation products are covered expenses.
Home remedies are the cheapest of all head lice treatments. Using a lice removal device is also cheaper than OTC products and prescription medication. A lice removal device can be cleaned and/or sanitized for re-use.