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How to Control and Get Rid of Head Lice

Published: 2009-03-29 - Updated: 2017-06-25
Author: Sammy Kane

Synopsis: How to get rid of head lice from your or childrens hair and controlling future outbreaks of louse in the home or at school.

Main Digest

In this article I am going to discuss why people get head lice and what to do and what not to do to get rid head lice. I will show the best treatments available to get rid of head lice in days based on my personal knowledge and years of research after my two young ones couldn't get rid of their head lice after picking it up at school.


Head lice are tiny insects that live on the skin covering the top of your head, called the scalp. Lice can be spread by close contact with other people. Head lice may also be found in eyebrows and eyelashes. Lotions and shampoos containing 1% permethrin (Nix) often work well. They can be bought at the store without a prescription. If these do not work, a doctor can give you a prescription for stronger medicine. Such medicine should be used exactly as directed.

Head lice (sometimes also referred to as louse) are insects that live on the neck and scalp. Although they may make your head feel itchy, they do not usually cause illness. Their main damage appears to be embarrassment and discomfort., however, they do not clear up without treatment.

A Head lice infection can result in an itchy neck or head, and even a rash, behind the ears or on at the back of the neck. However, a child may have had head lice for some months before any symptoms are noticed. I noted that there is no need to worry about delousing bed linen or or hats, as the head lice will not survive away from the scalp and are only transferred between people by head to head contact.

Head lice are difficult to locate in the hair but can be removed, by combing them out. The hair should be combed in sections using fine toothed comb or a specific nit comb which is stocked by pharmacists.

The hair should be combed when wet, preferably with hair conditioner or olive oil, and it is important to comb for the full length from root to tip. After each stroke, the comb should be examined for lice. The hair could also be combed over paper, or a bowl of water, so that any lice that results of any lice that were removed which could be seen.

Facts About Lice

Head Lice are small about 1/32 to 1/16 inch in size. They can grow to almost an 1/8 inch, in some cases and have a lifespan of around 20 days. They are visible to the naked eye. They do not fly or jump. They do crawl and scurry about the hair and scalp.

The female lays 5 or 6 eggs each day which are attached to the hair near the beginning of the follicle. These yellow or white eggs are referred to as nits and take around 8 days to hatch. They may sometimes be mistaken for dandruff, however nits stick like glue to the hair and prove very hard to remove.

In a child with an infestation of head lice, there are commonly about ten lice on the scalp although there may often be a much greater number.

Head lice may be found in all ages of people, but are most common in children between the ages of four and twelve. Girls seem to be more likely to suffer from head lice than their male counterparts. This could be because girls are more prone to put their heads together during activities and lice are usually transferred by head to head contact.

Controlling Head Lice

Although they're very prevalent, and most kids will get them at some point in their lives, lice aren't caused by being dirty. Head lice are very easily spread among the population. Although they don't jump or fly, any direct contact can result in yet another person being infected. The biggest problem caused by a lice infestation is the embarrassment of having them in the first place. But once someone in your family does have lice, you need to take direct and decisive action to limit the potential spread of the infestation.

The first order of business must be to limit the potential for others in the family to become infected. This is done by...

Limit the area of Outbreak.

Try to limit the person with the head lice from general areas of the house. They could sit on the sofa, eggs may then fall off only to be picked up later by another family member. The result is 2 people with lice instead of one. Keep them limited until you get a quality medicated shampoo and treat the head lice problem.

Limit the areas where other children might come in contact with lice or their eggs. This means that the bedroom of the person with lice is off limits until it's treated. An inadvertent moment where someone may lay down on the bed opens the opportunity for another infection. Keep the non lice people out of the others room if only as a precaution.

Remember that lice neither fly nor jump huge distances. A louse can only survive a few days at most without food. This means that left on their own, lice will die off naturally. The problem however is that the nits or eggs may incubate for a week or more before hatching. The point here is not to worry about being attacked by head lice but be cautious.

Remove all combs, brushes, hair care products that come in direct contact with hair. This means hair bands, bobby pins, clips etc. All should be put into a plastic bag and sealed until they can be sterilized. Be certain to also wash the counter where the brush might have laid. You can't be to careful in dealing with a head lice infestation.

Remove all jackets, scarves and other outer wear that may have been used. If hung in a common closet, remove all jackets for a good washing. Again, you can't be to careful.

How To Get Rid Of Head Lice

It is best to use a bright light to examine the hair and scalp. The brighter the light the easier they are to find. You may even do this out doors under direct sun light. Try running a fine tooth comb through the hair and then examine the comb.

Combing alone can be an effective way to treating head lice. I do of course recommend finding a lice treatment, or medication for head louse - of your choosing and following the instructions that come with it. However, I do understand that monetary issues sometimes are a factor, and that human head lice infestations occur on their own schedule.

Therefore if you presently have no other way, get to combing lice and nits (ie eggs)! Begin by wetting the hair; you may add a little cream rinse or conditioner to facilitate the movement of a nit comb (fine tooth) through the hair. This will also stop the ability of head lice to just race through the hair and crawl out of sight. Concentrate initially on removing every bug you find. Then work on the eggs and any bugs you may have missed as you work your way through the hair. You will need to comb the hair - then rinse - then comb a second time in on sitting. With patience and persistence you will eventually remove all lice and nits. Just do not give up, check each day until you find none for 3 days in a row.

Even if you do not find any live lice, you may still have a problem. So also look for nits, these are the eggs laid by female lice. Nits are found attached to the individual hair shaft, close to the scalp; usually not more than 1 inch above the scalp. They appear to be a tiny speck of sand on the hair. If you see what might be one, blow on it - If it flies off on the wind - it was likely only a piece of dirt, lint, or dandruff. On the other hand, if it just sits there and does not move - It is likely to be a nit (lice egg).

Head lice can be really stubborn critters to get rid of and I hope the above information helps you somewhat in getting rid of you head lice issues.

I must state that although the comb through method can be effective, 95% of the time it needs to be treated with a remedy of some sort to ensure they do not come back as they tend to do.

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Cite This Page (APA): Sammy Kane. (2009, March 29). How to Control and Get Rid of Head Lice. Disabled World. Retrieved September 26, 2021 from