Section: Barnabas Health News

Managing Head Lice


Head lice are tiny insects that infest the scalp and can spread quickly between family members and housemates. An estimated 6 million to 12 million infestations occur each year in the United States among children 3 to 11 years of age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Application of a medicated cream rinse or shampoo is usually effective treatment for head lice. Specific instructions need to be followed, so be sure to discuss options with your child's health care provider. Examples of medicated cream rinses or shampoos include:

  • Malathion. This is a new treatment that is safe and effective for lice and nits.
  • Lindane. Because of toxicity, do not use if there are open sores on the head.
  • Pyrethrins. This treatment does not kill nits (lice eggs).
  • Permethrin cream rinse. This treatment does not always work due to lice resistance.

Specific treatment for lice will be determined by your child's health care provider based on:

  • Your child's age, overall health, and medical history
  • Extent of the infestation
  • Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the infestation
  • Your opinion or preference

For more information about head lice treatment options, contact your child's physician or speak to a pharmacist. Pharmacists at Barnabas Health Retail Pharmacies at Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center, Livingston; Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville; Jersey City Medical Center, Jersey City; Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch; and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Newark are also available to answer any questions you may have. To speak to a pharmacist at any of these locations, call:

  • Barnabas Health Retail Pharmacy at Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center: 973-322-7315
  • Barnabas Health Retail Pharmacy at Clara Maass Medical Center: 973-450-2581
  • Barnabas Health Retail Pharmacy at Jersey City Medical Center:201-915-2166
  • Barnabas Health Retail Pharmacy at Monmouth Medical Center:732-923-6111
  • Barnabas Health Retail Pharmacy at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center: 973-926-7422
  • Barnabas Health Retail Pharmacy at Saint Barnabas Medical Center: 973-322-2445
Categories: Press Releases