Q:

Will rubbing alcohol kill lice?

A:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that rubbing alcohol is not recommended to kill head lice. The most common over-the-counter suggestions include pyrethroid-containing products, such as Rid and Triple X, and permethrin lotions, such as the brand-name product Nix.

The treatment of lice is not something that should be handled lightly. Lice do not carry diseases, but they can spread quickly to other individuals who come into close contact with the infected person. There are multiple over-the-counter treatments and prescription and follow-up treatments. Benzyl alcohol lotion, ivermectin lotion, malathion lotion and spinosad topical suspension are listed by the CDC as recommended prescription treatments.

People who are infected with lice should try to keep away from others until the treatment completely removes all bugs and eggs. Use all treatments as directed by the product label or according to the doctor's orders. No treatment should be used in excess, doubled or used more than once in the same treatment period. Wash clothing and bedding thoroughly in hot water and a highly concentrated bleach or cleaning solution. Lice does not live long once removed from the host body. Contact a physician for recommendations or a prescription if having issues getting rid of the parasite.

Sources:

  1. cdc.gov

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