Head lice infestation: bug busting vs. traditional treatment

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2001
Authors:L. Plastow, Luthra, M., Powell, R., Wright, J., Russell, D., Marshall, M. N.
Journal:Journal of Clinical Nursing
Pagination:775 - 783
Date Published:2001
ISBN Number:0962-1067
Keywords:adolescent, adult, animals, child, Child, Preschool, Comparative Study, Family Practice, hair, humans, hygiene, insecticide, Lice Infestations/prevention & control, Parents, pediculosis, Pediculus, Pilot Projects, Pyrethrum, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Rural Health, scalp dermatoses, Time Factors, Treatment Outcome

The two main methods of managing head lice infestation in the UK are head lice lotions and bug busting; there is no conclusive evidence as to which of these methods is most effective. The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of the bug busting method with lotion. A pilot study in the form of a randomized controlled trial involving two semi-rural general practices was used. Thirty children aged 4-16 years were randomly assigned to two intervention groups. After initial dry combing to detect the presence of head lice, one group was treated with phenothrin lotion. The bug busting group received combing using special combs provided in the bug busting pack and hair conditioner. The main outcome measure was the number of adult live lice and nymphs at day 14. On day 14 in the bug busting group, total eradication of head lice had occurred in eight children; in the lotion group, total eradication had occurred in two children (P=0.052); number needed to treat 2.5 (95% CI: 2.19-2.81). These results suggest that bug busting performed by nurses in a controlled situation is an effective method of managing head lice infestation.

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