Survey: 4-in-5 moms turn to OTC option to treat head lice

SWIFTWATER, Pa. — A new national survey released Wednesday found that the majority of moms who have experienced head lice in their household as an adult (81%) used an OTC treatment the last time they had an infestation. Less than a third of moms (27%) chose a prescription option.

The online survey was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Sanofi Pasteur during back-to-school season, among more than 2,000 U.S. moms aged 25 and older. Moms define the ideal head lice treatment as one that works quickly (78%), is safe (76%) and is easy to use (74%). Approximately 67% of moms are aware of prescription treatments and 80% are aware of over-the-counter treatments. Only 32% of moms who used an OTC treatment the last time they or a member of their household had head lice say the infestation was eliminated with just one treatment; the remainder (68%) say they used two or more OTC applications to treat the infestation or report the treatment did not resolve the infestation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that the removal of all nits after successful treatment is not necessary and there are numerous treatment options with a range of application directions and safety profiles.

However, most moms believe that in order to get rid of an infestation you have to comb out the nits (88% of all moms and 90% of those with experience as an adult) and more than half (55% of all moms and 54% of those with experience as an adult) think that all head lice treatments require multiple applications. 

Findings also demonstrate that more than three-in-four moms (77% of all moms and 89% of those with experience as an adult) believe that they know where to find reliable information about head lice — 17% turned first to a doctor, nurse or other healthcare provider and 19% turned first to a pharmacist for treatment advice the last time they had an infestation in their household.

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