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Have head lice which causes intense itching and bloody bumps. How to get rid of them?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 1232 Questions
I've lived 75 years without providing living space/food supply, etc. for bugs in my hair. It is really making me nuts -
what do I do to get rid of them? I've read numerous articles saying .don't kill these question...WHY NOT?
They cause intense itching/bloody bumps as a result and freak me out anyway -=who wants to 'host' bugs in ones hair anyway? 98% or more people supposedly live in quasi harmony with these critters. I would prefer to send them on to someone else or better yet eradicate them entirely. What is the best solution for permanent riddance of these
nuisances...? XXXXX
fine, Dr. Grief.. what is the charge for this consultation?
Posted Mon, 7 Oct 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Vaishalee Punj 56 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Need to get rid of them

Detailed Answer:

Thanks for posting your query on XXXXXXX

It seems that you have head lice. There are some very effective treatments for it. Most of these are available over-the-counter and some may be available with a prescription. I will enumerate a few:

- permethrin 1% solution applied to the hair, keep it overnight and wash away in the morning (take precautions not to apply it on your face or anywhere near the eyes)

- Lindane lotion also works for resistant cases. Apply it to your hair overnight again taking precautions to not apply it on face or near the eyes.

-Wash your towels and clothes in hot water preferably after soaking them in a solution of bleach (disinfectant)

-a repeat application is usually required in a week to take care of newly hatched eggs

I think this treatment should work. Let me know if you need further clarification.


Dr Vaishalee
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have head lice which causes intense itching and bloody bumps. How to get rid of them? 1 hour later
Dr. Punj
I'm not sure I can agree that these 'bugs' are lice? I haven't looked up what they look like but these critters from everything I've read and observed on-line would probably label them Demodex mites. If lice, I have no idea where I would
have gotten them? Obviously, no school-aged children here and never use anyone elses hair brush/comb, etc. and not the weather to be wearing hats, etc.

Any other alternatives? Please respond with other alternatives - I really need
to begin some sort of treatment to rid myself of these interlopers!
Time sent: 11:40 am CST (Texas) 09-10-2013
Answered by Dr. Vaishalee Punj 27 minutes later
Brief Answer:
It can be other mites

Detailed Answer:
Hi again

It can be other mites as well. The above mentioned treatment works for most mites who live superficially on the skin and do not burrow deep enough.

Demodex mites is an interesting topic that you have brought up. It is believed to be seen in upto 60% of population. It is held responsible for folliculitis. Thus it may cause rosacea, atypical acne and blepharitis (inflammation of eyelid). It means that it will cause swelling of sebaceous glands (pores) causing pimple like lesions. It will also be seen infecting the roots of eyelashes. Thus you need to correlate clinically with your symptoms.
Diagnosis can be made by observing under microscope a scraping from the skin. Treatment is topical: gentamicin ointment, metronidazole gel or maybe tea tree oil 50%.

The diagnosis can be made by simple examination by the treating doctor. If the diagnosis is still not clear, microscopic examination may help.


Dr Vaishalee
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have head lice which causes intense itching and bloody bumps. How to get rid of them? 1 hour later
Dr. Punj:

Thanks for answering further on other possibilities for this 'bug'. We are going
to try the first remedies which you mentioned and will see if that works. Your subsequent reply mentions some other things to try if folliculitis mites are the culprits. Again, I appreciate your sugesstions today! Thanks! XXXXX
Answered by Dr. Vaishalee Punj 18 hours later
Brief Answer:
Be careful with medicines

Detailed Answer:
Hi again

Yes you can use the above stated medicines. Just be careful when you need to apply a medicine on the face. Permethrin and lindane lotion are not advised to be used on face.

While using medications like tea tree oil, apply some medicine on a small patch of skin first and check for sensitivities. It is possible that you may already be having red and sensitive skin. Start with a milder medicine. First try medicines like metronidazole gel. If it does not work, then try tea tree oil 20% under supervision of a dermatologist. You may need a repeat application in 7 days. If 20% tea tree oil does not work then 50% can be tried, but it may cause skin redness, etc.

Lastly try to figure out the source of infestation. It may be a pet. It may be something else too like plants, air, water etc. Boil water and check if you see mites floating in it. I am just trying to mention some ways to find out the cause.

Take care.


Dr Vaishalee
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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