Overview

Head lice are tiny insects that feed on blood from the human scalp. An infestation of head lice, called pediculosis capitis, most often affects children and usually results from the direct transfer of lice from the hair of one person to the hair of another.

A head lice infestation isn't a sign of poor personal hygiene or an unclean living environment. Head lice don't carry bacterial or viral infectious diseases.

Over-the-counter and prescription medications are available to treat head lice. Following treatment instructions carefully is important for ridding your scalp and hair of lice and their eggs.

A number of home or natural remedies are used to treat head lice infestations, but there is little to no clinical evidence of their effectiveness.

May 18, 2017
References
  1. Head lice: Frequently asked questions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/gen_info/faqs.html. Accessed Jan. 16, 2017.
  2. Kimberlin DW, et al., eds. Pediculosis capitis. In: Red Book: 2015 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. 30th ed. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2015. http://aapredbook.aappublications.org. Accessed Jan. 16, 2017.
  3. AAP updates treatment for head lice. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/AAP-Updates-Treatments-for-Head-Lice.aspx. Accessed Jan. 16, 2017.
  4. Devore CD, et al. Head lice. Pediatrics. 2015;135:1355.
  5. Head lice treatment. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/gen_info/faqs_treat.html. Accessed Jan. 16, 2017.
  6. Gorkiewicz-Petkow A, et al., eds. Scabicides and pediculicides. In: European Handbook of Dermatological Treatments. Warsaw, Poland: Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg; 2015.
  7. Yetman RJ. The child with pediculosis capitis. Journal of Pediatric Health Care. 2015;29:118.
  8. Goldstein AO, et al. Pediculosis capitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 16, 2017.
  9. Head lice: Diagnosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/diagnosis.html. Accessed Jan. 16, 2017.
  10. Anise. Natural Medicine Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Jan. 16, 2017.
  11. Ylang ylang oil. Natural Medicine Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Jan. 16, 2017.
  12. Parasites: Lice: Head lice. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/prevent.html. Accessed Jan. 16, 2017.