Shampoo is best way to get rid of head lice

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Parents seeking to tackle the commonest contagious condition of childhood - head lice - are using the wrong method, scientists say.

Parents seeking to tackle the commonest contagious condition of childhood - head lice - are using the wrong method, scientists say.

"Bug busting" campaigns, in which parents are encouraged to wet-comb their children's hair to remove the lice mechanically, have become more common following concerns about the toxicity and effectiveness of treatment shampoos.

But a study in Wales has shown the shampoos have twice the cure rate of the combing method. Researchers who checked the scalps of 4,037 schoolchildren in two counties in Wales found just 167 children aged three to fourteen were infected with head lice, a rate of 4 per cent.

Of 72 children included in the study, the researchers found a cure rate of 78 per cent for those treated with a shampoo containing the insecticide malathion, compared with a 38 per cent cure rate with wet-combing. Children assigned to bug busting were almost three times as likely to have lice at the end of treatment as those treated with the malathion shampoo.

A report last year by the Public Health Medicine Environmental Group said head lice were much harder to catch and transmit than generally thought, and that most so-called infections were imagined.

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