7/15/2010

How to deal with your own head lice.

So, you are the one who has head lice. What if you don't have a buddy to help look through your head? If you are on your own, here's what you can do:
1. Breathe. So, you might have head lice.  So what?  You'll be fine. Even if you are on your own, you have what it takes to beat this.

2. Get a good metal lice comb. Now, not all metal lice combs are created equal.  Some still have pretty bendable teeth and you need a comb with rigid teeth. Check here for some options. When you are getting the lice and bugs out of someone else's head, a proper comb is very helpful. When you are removing the lice from your own head, it is almost essential. (Note: If there is no way you can get a good metal lice comb, still use whatever comb you have.  Doing something is always better than doing nothing. Even a regular plastic comb with teeth close together can remove adult bugs from wet, conditioned hair.  It won't remove the eggs, but if you can get the bugs out before they lay more eggs, you are still ahead in the game and can still outrun the lice cycle over time.)

3. Hop in the bath or shower.  Wet your head and saturate your head with hair conditioner.  It doesn't have to be expensive conditioner.  Any generic conditioner will do.  Leave the conditioner in.

4. Use a brush to completely detangle your conditioned hair. Still leave the conditioner in. 
 
5. Start combing with the lice comb. Comb your entire head - from root to tip. Check the comb after each stroke, removing each nit or bug from the comb. You can do this by simply rinsing the comb in the shower or wiping it on a piece of toilet paper. (If you can't wipe the bugs/eggs out of the comb, use dental floss to clean between the comb's teeth. Do not pry the teeth apart!)

6. Comb until you no longer comb out any lice or nits. How long do you comb? As long as you need to but don't exhaust yourself with a lice picking marathon.  Here's an easy rule to follow - comb 100 times (over the whole head, not 100 times for just one section of hair). If you comb out an egg or a bug, start your counting again from '1'. Don't stop until you have completed 100 strokes with no sign of eggs or bugs. Your head lice and nits may not be completely gone, but you've effectively reduced your problem and probably dealt with any adult bugs. If you comb and comb and keep finding nits or bugs, don't be discouraged. With every stroke, you are making things better. If the process is taking way to long, then take a break, or just stop for now and get back to your scalp again later on or the next day. But make sure you do get back to it.

And here's one other tool in the fight that you can use if you want...

7. Later on, grab your hair dryer. Separate your DRY hair into at least 20 sections (or grab one small section at a time.) Turn your blow dryer on the fastest setting - fastest but not hottest. Keep it on the warm (not hot) setting. Directing the hair to the scalp, blow dry each section for at least 30 seconds on one side and then 30 seconds on the other. In a study from the University of Utah, this directed blowing with a regular blow dryer was found to kill 53% of the bugs and 98% of the eggs. Though these numbers seem impressive, I find combing to be the most effective tool.  If you have to choose between wet combing or blow drying, I'd go with combing.  It actually gets things off the head.
 
8. Do it all again in a few days. Keep spending time on your scalp until you have had 2 weeks without seeing lice or nits. Why two weeks? Because there is a small chance that even after a week of combing and blowing, you may still have a viable egg on your head that will hatch after 7-10 days. So, you need to keep combing to catch it. Don't worry, after a couple of days, this process will get quicker and easier. If the numbers are dwindling, you can alternate activities: comb one day, blow dry the next. And remember, if you remain diligent, you will be combing them out faster than they can reproduce.

9. Continue your search for a lice buddy. It is comforting if you can find someone who can actually see your scalp, pick out any seen nits or bugs, and give you moral support. However, if you can't find a buddy, you can still deal with this effectively if you are willing to put in the time and the effort.

But, Cathy, what about "shampoos" or "treatments"? Won't they make this process go so much faster?

No.  Don't waste your money.

Don't I have to do a bunch of house cleaning and laundry now? 

No.  Don't waste your time.

No matter what lice product you use, you are always instructed to manually remove the bugs and nits because no single 'treatment' of any kind is 100% effective and most are completely ineffective. I always say, skip the middle man - just go right to the combing. You need to put in some extra time over the next couple of weeks to ensure that  the lice are off the head but don't waste your time on any thing else (extra cleaning, laundry).

And don't panic. You really can deal with this.  It's not a disease.  You didn't do anything wrong.  It can happen to anybody. It's just head lice.

73 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Hi! I found your blog in my mad search to solve a continuing problem that *might* be bordering on psychological (I hope). Three weeks ago I found out I had lice and immediatly went to a lice lady like yourself. She addressed the problem but I still feel itchy and crawly. I've checked and can find no bugs or nits. I visited her again and she found nothing (but she just did a dry check). Then last night I scratched my head and and found a bug!! Did not look like a louse, but I could not recognize it so it might have been. Wet check = no bugs or eggs. It's an hour drive and $25 to get a 'wet check' from the lady. Do you recommend it? Or think I'm losing it? I have very long hair and a lot of it. (But soft and easy to comb through). Don't know. To sound dramatic, this is ruining my life.

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

I completely understand your situation - this happens with many of my clients. Hey, I deal with lice regularly and I still scratch my head when talking about them.

It's hard to give advice when I haven't seen your head, but based on what you have told me, here's what I think. You say the bug you saw didn't look like a louse - then it probably wasn't one. (Do you have bites anywhere else on your body? Are there any other bugs in your home that you need to deal with?) When you say that the lice professional addressed the problem, I hope you mean that she manually removed all the nits and lice and really showed you what to be looking for in the future. I generally trust the findings of any seasoned lice professional so my guess is that the itch on your head is all in your head. After you have had head lice, you can be hypersensitive of any scalp itch. You may also be irritating your scalp by over washing or over combing. Then again, if you knowingly had lice for many months and had quite a few adult bugs on your head, I would still wet comb everyday for at least 2 weeks, no matter what a lice lady said.

Being diligent is not a bad thing. Being paranoid can suck the life out of you. So, trust what you see in your comb and hear from others instead of trusting the itch (or if the itch persists, check out other possibilities with a medical professional). Do you have a friend or family member who can occasionally check an itchy spot for lice activity? Even if they don't know what to look for, they can pick out anything they see and show it to you for verification. If you have a proper metal lice comb, then your own wet checking should be enough to spot an active case of head lice. Now, there is always a small chance that something got missed or that a brand new case has started. Either way, you know that lice are not some microscopic virus - if you have lice, a good wet combing with a proper metal comb will find the lice if you have them. If you are doing this, and are not finding anything, then it is unlikely that you have an active case of head lice.

You've already had that lice lady check again and you sound as if you have been quite thorough in your own lice checks. If I were you, I would give your scalp a rest for a couple of days before combing again. Read the other articles on the blog for more suggestions. Also, don't go crazy doing extra house cleaning - it drains your energy and is not proven to make any difference in the fight against head lice. Get some sleep, eat well, and trust that you have dealt with this problem, and that if you ever get head lice again, you can beat it again. Good luck.

julia said...

hey ive just found out last night i have head lice im a teen and absalootly cannot tell my mother she sererously said that if i get lice ever again im am like not ever sleeping over ever in my life and not going to school for a month she is not over axadgerating i already convinced her and i just had a sleepover and her lil sis had head lice:( it might be better if she doesnt know also because she gets so grossed out that she starts to cry so this leaves me on my own ive had lice previously and she hated it and i had the nice lice lady take them out also. well i need some advise plz we moved from edmonton to vacouver this year so..

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

Julia,
This situation sounds tough - I can really understand why you don't want to tell your mom, but I still think that you should speak with her because this is something that could affect everyone in the household. Also, I think you need an adult to help you assess the lice situation or to see if there are any other health/bug issues going on.

You know, if you do have head lice, there is no certainty that you got it from the sleepover. You may have picked up head lice from somewhere or someone else. If you are able to get a good metal lice comb (check one out on this blog) then you can start combing your own hair (read the articles on the blog for "how-to" tips.) Or you can also ask your friend from the sleepover (or her parents) to help you, since it seems that lice are no stranger to that household. If you just got lice recently, then you should be able to take care of it relatively easily - spend the time needed daily to get rid of the lice (read the advice on this blog). If you have a lot of lice/nits, then you've had them for a longer time and again, you should probably tell your mom because she might have head lice as well.

If you can show your mom that head lice is a common occurrence - something that can happen to everyone - and that you are responsible and willing to really take the time to deal with it, maybe she won't be as upset. I have found that the people who really freak out about head lice don't always understand it. You can show her the articles on this blog and find additional information on some of the links. She can also call me if she's really upset. Good luck.

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

You may never know where your head lice came from. Some experts say that it has to be passed hair to hair from person to person, some say that it may come from using someone else's brush or hat, some say that it can come from the mattress at a summer camp or the seat in a movie theatre. The good thing is that you don't have to know where you got it in order to treat it.
The best advice I can give you is to get a proper metal lice comb. If you do have head lice, you need to remove them and if you don't have someone else to pick them out, you need the right comb to do the job. This blog can give you a description of some good combs. I'm not sure if you can get all of these combs in your area, but I am sure that you could order the LiceMeister from www.headlice.org.
If you have combed and combed and feel confident you have most of the lice out(follow the instructions on this blog), you will still be itchy for a few days after the lice are gone - it's like with a mosquito bite - the bug is long gone but the itch remains. I discourage using lice "shampoos" or over washing your hair just because these activities can really irritate your scalp.
So, get a good comb, and then (wet)comb and comb until you have combed at least 100 strokes with no eggs or bugs coming out. Do this every day for at least 10 days. This may seem like a lot of time spent on lice removal, but it is necessary and worth it. If you get the bugs off of your head and can take out the nits before they hatch, the itch will go away.
Good luck!

Emily said...

Dear Cathy,

I just wanted to say thank you. Seriously, thank you so much for your wealth of information on this blog. I was so disappointed to find out that you lived in AB, while I'm in Kingston, Ontario! I picked up lice several weeks ago even though I don't have contact with kids, other people's brushes, or even other people's homes very often. It had me questioning my sanity when I told my boyfriend and his mum about it. [SO EMBARRASSING.] Of course they didn't believe me at first and chalked it up to having a dry scalp during the winter. I had lice in middle school, however, and I recognized the itch and small bite marks on the back of my ears and the base of my neck. So I frantically started searching the internet, knowing the chemicals at the pharmacy were a no-go, and I found you. Even though I'll try and get my boyfriend and his mother to help me comb, I found your "Comb it yourself" blog immensely helpful. Hopefully I'm on my way to being lice free now that I've bought a gallon of Tea-Tree oil and the Licemeister comb! Thanks again!

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

Glad to help!
One thing - unless you see some signs of actual head lice(eggs or bugs), you can't be sure what the itch is coming from. I'm glad you got the Licemeister comb - if you do have lice, this comb will show you the signs. If you comb and comb and you find no eggs or no bugs, then look for other causes of your itching.
Also, while there is some evidence that tea tree oil has some insecticidal properties, I have had many, many clients who used tea tree oil with little success. Also, overuse of any hair product can actually increase your itching. So, use the tea tree oil with care and and remember that the main thing you need to do is to comb and (if you can find a buddy) pick out the bugs and eggs. As I have said above, if you give your scalp some serious time and attention, you can deal with this problem.
Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, using straighteners kills them, well "FRYS" them! I haven't tried it myself yet, but a lot of people have recommended it after seeing results!

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

I wish it were that easy. In my experience, straighteners do not kill them. I have been to many, many homes where this was tried first and the individuals were so surprised to still find live bugs on the head. Please see my March 2012 blog post entitled "Flat Iron. Bad idea." Straighteners can cause serious burns that close to the head and you still don't kill the head lice.

Anonymous said...

My daughter has lice and nits. She has been itching for awhile now a few weeks but, I thought her scalp was just dry from swimming so much at camp. Ugh, she is loaded with Lice and nits. I did a treatment RIT. I have combed and combed hours worth. I can not get all the bits out of her hair!! I don't know what to do??? Any ideas??? Heather
hmr1975@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Hi.
this is horrible. My son had lice and gave it to me. I have long hair and noone to check my head. My son is clear of nits and bugs. We did listerine and vinegar. It worked great for him. I am combing and i find nothing but i still feel crawls. I am so upset i feel like its never gonna go away. I am in tears!
Please help.

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

To the Anonymous that used Listerine and vinegar,
if you are combing with a good lice comb and finding nothing, then you probably have nothing. Are you wet coming? Lice is detected with more accuracy when combing through wet, conditioned hair. Are you using a good comb? Proper long-toothed metal combs, such as the Licemeister or the Nit-free Terminator will comb out many nits and nymphs. As lice has been in your home recently, I would recommend that everyone in the household comb through their hair every few days just in case, but if you go through a 2 week period without seeing any bugs or nits, you can be confident you are lice free.
Just because you feel crawling on your head does not necessarily mean that you actually have lice. After lice has been found in the home, everyone in the home starts to itch because it's on their minds, but it doesn't mean that it is surely on their scalps.
If you have a good comb, trust it. Even a fine-toothed plastic comb can comb out adult bugs. If you think you have lice, keep combing regularly. You will find it. If you find it, then continued combing will get rid of it too in time.

One comment about the Listerine and vinegar. I'm glad you feel this worked for your son's head lice. However, head lice are not a health issue but Listerine or vinegar in the eyes could be. Sometimes even "natural" or home remedies can have side effects. At the very least, I've met many a parent who has said their child has howled in pain because of the sting of the vinegar on the lice bits. If his lice come back, I do not recommend that you reapply these home remedies. But you should continue to comb through your son's hair until you have gone two weeks with no lice or new nits.
Good luck.

Jessica said...

My 4 year old stepdaughter contracted lice from a b-day party and within 2 days gave it to me... I have been searchig the interet for hours trying to find a solution to my problem!! We both have long thick wavy hair! I have no problem getting the bugs/nits out of her hair. I just cant do my own and I have no one to help me even check the back of my head! I have A LOT of hair!! I dont want to miss something and re-infest my little girl! the itching makes her so uncomfortable :(

Samou said...

Hi,
I've had lice for a few days now and have been using vinegar, rubbing alcohol, olive oil and just about everything else. I plan on using your directions as soon as I can get in the bathroom, but unfortunately I cannot wet comb for the two days following this because I have busy days that I have no way out of. Do you think if I skip two days and wet come on Sunday I will still be alright? And I'll have my mother to help comb on Sunday night.

Anonymous said...

Hi i am really wondering if i still have lice. about a month ago i had lice and i spent four hours combing out the nits and bugs. my grandma got RID and it took care of the problem for awhile and just two days ago i found another louse! its driving me insane! my mom then got RID again and i think we combed out all the bugs. but i keep feeling a tickling sensation and when i do i comb where i felt it and nothing comes out. so i don't know if its just me or if i still have lice please help me so i can make sure i don't get the problem again

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

Hi, the active ingredient in RID is pyrethrin and lice are becoming resistant to this pesticide, so there's a chance you never fully got rid of the problem. However, don't panic because you are dealing with it now. If you are thoroughly combing through your hair (and I suspect you are), I would trust what you see in the comb. Did you get the metal comb that comes with RID? It should be able to get out bugs, so if you have been combing and combing and are still finding nothing, then I think you have probably dealt with your head lice problem. The tickling and itching feelings can continue because it will take time for your bites to heal and also because you are now hypersensitve to what you feel on your scalp. I would still do thorough combings until you have had 2 weeks where you have not combed out any lice or nits. Remember, put all your energy on your scalp and not on any extra cleaning. Good luck.

Monica said...

Hi! I just found lice in my 2year olds 4 inch hair and i couldnt help but just shave it all off. He only had nits that i saw but its all i could do in the moment. I went to get my hair checked and they found one bug. Then i checked my 7yr old sons 1/2 inch hair and found one live bug and no nits. I have been combing my hair like crazy. i go through my whole head every hour and cant find anything. The first time i found about 10 nits but no live lice. I cut my hair shoulder length and bought Nix and lice spray for the couches and beds. I washed all linens and blankets. But i dont understand why im not finding anything in my hair. How can i have only a few nits and one lice? ive been oiling up my hair with tea tree oil and coconut oil hoping they dont come back. Am i missing something? When I got checked by a professional they said even though i buzzed cut my sons hair i need to pass a razor to guarantee they are really gone. Should i pass a razor on my 2yr olds scalp?

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

Monica,
If you've already given your son a buzz cut, I don't think you need to razor your son's scalp so that he is completely bald. While lice can still live on hair that is very short, they are much easier to see and I think you will be able to detect any new activity very quickly on both your 2 year old and your 7 year old. Remember, lice are small but not microscopic. If you see something on their heads, just remove it.

As for your head, make sure you are using a good metal lice comb, and not just the comb that comes in the Nix package. Combs like the Licemeister and the Nit Free Terminator are far superior to the combs that come with the "treatments". Combing while your hair is wet and conditioned has a 4X greater chance of lice detection, so make sure you are doing this - read posts on this blog about wet combing. Keep combing thoroughly every couple of days until you have had 2 weeks with no sightings of nits or bugs.
Please don't waste your time or money on lice sprays or doing mountains of laundry. These are simply not effective and won't change your situation at all. Put all of your energy on the head - and even then, one really good combing is enough for one day.

You can outrun this problem over time. Get a good comb and keep combing.

Anonymous said...

Help!! My Daughter & Myself Seem To Keep Passing The Bugs Back & Forth Even With Washing All Of Our Clothes In Hot Water Every Lice Pesticide & Home Remedy There Is ...I Don't Wanna Shave Our Heads But Im Seriously On The Verge! HELP!! :'(

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

Ok, I understand your panic, but don't shave your heads (unless you like the style!) DO NOT spray your furniture - this has absolutely no effectiveness. Don't do extra laundry. Don't buy any more lice "shampoos" - you've obviously tried them already and know their effectiveness.

Do you have a good metal lice comb? Because you are going to need it. This is where you need to put ALL of your energy - combing, picking, and blowdrying the head (as mentioned in the above blog post).

I know that you feel you have been dealing with head lice for a long time, but if you haven't been combing with a good metal lice comb, your chances of getting rid of lice have been small. With a good comb, you can deal with your own head lice. But you have to be thorough. Detangle and condition the hair. Leaving in the conditioner, you comb and comb and comb until you can comb through your head 100 times without finding an egg or a bug. (Wipe the comb off on a piece of toilet paper or paper towel between strokes and then look on the paper for lice/nits.) Then do that every couple of days until you've had two weeks with no lice/nit sightings.
I know we all want a magic pill or a quick fix to deal with this problem. However, combatting lice takes time. As I've said in many posts, it's a marathon, not a sprint. There are things worse than head lice - losing sleep, stressing out, missing work and school, withdrawing from life. Take back your life - give your lice the attention they deserve, but don't give them one second more. If you've done your thorough combing for today, then don't think about the lice again until tomorrow. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

So relieved I found this blog! Both my 5 year old daughter and 6 year old son got lice. I'm assuming from school? Anyways. Got the Rid treatment and spent hours picking nits out of their hair. Next day found a live louse crawling in my daughters hair! You had said rid was no longer effective, guess I can see that. You also said it had bad side effects? What are they? Cause I feel horrible cause when I saw the live bug in my daughters hair I did the treatment again! I wish I would have saw this blog first! I hope I didn't do any harm to her!

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

Ok, let's talk about products such as RID. Such treatments can act as irritants - some people develop a a burning feeling. I know someone who is allergic to pyrethrins and got a bad rash after applying a similar treatment to RID.

That said, these reactions are rare and if these products really worked, I would probably approve of them. However, as the lice have adapted, their effectiveness is limited and the problem continues. These products recommend combing out all nits and lice - which is what really solves the problem. So I say skip the middle man, stop wasting money on unnecessary and ineffective shampoos, and do regular, extensive wet combing with a good metal lice comb. Did your RID kit come with a metal comb? This is probably a better tool in the fight than the "shampoo" will ever be. All the best and keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Your blog has been super helpful -- thank you! I found lice on myself exactly a week ago, I did the RID :( combed for two hours that day and found only 2 dead bugs and a dozen or less nits. Since then I have purchased the terminator comb, have been combing twice a day (although not as thoroughly the 2nd time) and doing the hair dryer. I have not found any live bugs (only 2) or nits (only 2-3) in two days. BUT, I have found an empty egg case or two each time I comb......am I missing ones that are hatching, or did I just miss these shells in my combing? I have very long hair that takes forever to get through, and I may be missing some spots....I have been diligently running laundry, etc. My 2yr old and husband have so far remained lice-less. Am I getting ahead of it? Thanks!!

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

If you are doing thorough wet combing with the Nit Free Terminator, I'm sure you are dealing with the lice. It is not uncommon to continue to comb out nits for days - the main thing is that you are getting them. Whenever you comb out a new nit or bug, don't feel discouraged, feel empowered - you are getting them!

My general rule is that you comb on a regular basis (every 2-3 days) for two weeks starting from the first day you combed and found nothing. Are you wet combing your two year old and husband? Continue to check their heads until you are sure you have it beat. Don't worry about the laundry - it is a waste of time in the fight against head lice. That means that you don't have to wash your clothes or bedding any more than you usually would. Lice thrive on the scalp, not the mattress.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi,
So i found out my best friend had lice recently. checked last week and didn't have it. but now i do.I can absolutely NOT tell my mother. I had it a few years ago and she freaks out . She even made me sleep in a tent one night. yeah ...bad i know.. I have been combing through my hair and i put olive oil in it(overnight) and Tea tree oil. I washed all of my things with a dash of Tea tree oil also. Is there anything else i can do? I need a quick fix because i am going on a school trip in 2 weeks!! HELP!!

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

Ok,so you have found head lice. You say you have been combing. With what comb? If you have been combing with a good metal comb such as the Licemeister or the Nit-Free Terminator or even a similar comb with rigid, long metal teeth, then you are on the right track. Don't worry about washing bedding or clothing but DO keep on combing. Do the wet combing with conditioned hair, combing from root to tip. Keep combing until you have combed 100 times in total without finding an egg or a bug. You only have to comb once per combing day and you can comb every second day. You can comb while you are in the shower so as not to raise suspicions. Your hair dryer can help you as well (see posts about this on the blog.) Comb every couple of days until you have had two weeks without any sightings. I am assuming that you are not completely full of lice as you didn't see anything last week. You should be able to outrun it simply by continuing to remove the lice as they hatch through combing and you will catch them before they can lay new eggs. If you keep doing this (stick with it!), you should have no problem going on your school trip in two weeks.
That said, if lice have been in your home, how do you know your mother doesn't have it? Watch for any scratching that she might do. If she or anyone else in the home has head lice, you should probably come clean and help them in getting rid of it. Good luck.

leah said...

I randomly found 4 live bugs in my daughter's hair one day when I was just combing as I normally do every day. They were just sitting on top of her head, easy to take out, and I have not found any definite nits and certainly nothing live since then. Is there a chance this could have been some random other kind of bug? I don't understand how there could be more than one live one without a more significant problem or at least some nits (I am good at finding them). I don't want to do all this combing & work if they weren't really lice, but my husband says they must be. What do you think??

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

Leah, what did the bugs look like? I don't know of any bugs that would just want to be hanging out on the head. In the summer time, after a day outside, it is not unusual for a child to have a bug in the hair, but the bug would just get stuck in the hair and would rather not be there. Four bugs of the same kind? At this time of year? I'm guessing head lice. Take a look at the picutres of lice on this blog (or on the Net) to see if that's what you encountered. (If your bugs had wings, then they were not lice.)

How did you check for other bugs or nits? Did you just go through with your fingers or did you do a wet combing. A wet combing with a regular comb can still remove some adult bugs. A wet combing with a good metal lice comb has a 4X greater chance of detecting something. Though going through the scalp with your fingers can often show you some signs of a problem, it is way too easy to miss something and isn't the most reliable way to check.

I don't want you to have to do more work than you need to, but I still would put a bit more time into investigating this. You say you are really good at finding nits but you don't seem to know exactly what you saw. Hmm. If I were you, I would still do some regular combings for a couple of weeks. If it is lice, you probably don't have a big problem so better to do a bit of work now to nip this in the bud. (And remember, just focus on doing thorough combing - no extra housework or laundering required!) Good luck!

leah said...

Thanks for the input. Yes, I'm going to go ahead with the assumption that the 4 bugs were lice (I guess I was just in denial) and comb, etc. appropriately. I just thought it was so weird to have only those and nothing else, plus no other sign of anything, living or dead or eggs, on anyone else in the household (I have 3 girls and a husband).

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

Sorry that you have head lice but glad you are willing to do the combing that is needed to get rid of it.

Head lice ARE strange. It is possible for only one person in the house to have it. I've seen families where everyone in the house repeatly gets head lice with the exception of one family maemeber - there are some people that seem to have a natural defense against head lice and don't get it even when everyone around the does.

That said, I would still do a good wet combing on everyone in the household (including yourself) with a proper lice comb. If someone hasn't had head lice before, it can take 3 months of having it before they even notice it.

All the best.

leah said...

What I found while doing the proper combing on my daughter's head was something that looked as if someone had sprinkled teeny, tiny grains of dirt or sand on her head. You could hardly see them and they are brown/black and mostly on the scalp. It just looks like tiny specks of dirt. Is this a "baby" louse stage? They don't look like the typical white eggs stuck on the hair or like the live (moving) bugs I found the first time.

Anonymous said...

I keep finding nits in daughters hair. I pull them off everyday. I find about 10 nits everyday. I find no bug. What am I doing wrong?

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

First, I have to ask the obvious question. How do you know they are nits? I'm sure you know what you are looking for, but here's a recap. Nits are always the same shape and size. Their colour may seem to vary based on the colour of hair. If you flick them, they will not move - to remove them they need to be scraped off the hair. The adhesive that glues the egg to the hair is so strong that when you remove the egg, if you look closely, you will see a little "tail" at one end of the nit which is really a tiny part of the hair shaft that ripped off. Does your child have dandruff? Some dandruff can be very sticky and may need to be scraped off the hair, but dandruff varies in shape and size. If your child has dandruff, I would recommend a good washing with a dandruff shampoo* before doing a thorough lice check(*Read the label or consult with a pharmacist regarding which product is right for your child.)

Assuming that you really are finding nits, I must ask, are you combing? Nits can often be easier to find than the bugs. The louse can move very quickly on the head and will run from light. A head check with your fingers may not reveal the bugs. A good wet combing should and is so much more effective at detecting and removing head lice than just using your nimble fingers. When lice are wet, they stop moving (or slow down a lot) which makes them easier to find. I would recommend getting a good metal lice comb (see this blog for suggestions), detangling/wetting/saturating the hair with conditioner, and starting combing. Give the comb a good wipe on a piece of paper towel or toilet paper in between strokes and check the paper and the comb for nits or lice.

Where there's smoke, there's fire and where there are nits, there are almost always bugs. Keep checking.

Kesha Hill said...

Hello, I am African American and my 5year old got head lice from school. I have found it very difficult to use the combing method because of her natural hair is very kinky and curly when wet. It just seems to pull out the hair and it is painful for her. Myself and my 2 year old also have lice now. I used the shampoo I used lots of hair grease I see a few nits but they fall off easily. There is not much info on lice and African American hair. What do you recommend? I do not see live lice just a few tiny nits. How often should I wash bedding? What color are live lice?

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

Hi! Check out the new blog post for my answer.

alicia said...

Hi, I have had lice off and on for a year now and and they keep coming back!!! I dont have a buddy, my mom won't help and neither will my boyfriend. I keep combing and I don't find bugs anymore but I can see the comb go right past the nits and not even pick them up!!!!! Everyone is so angry that I haven't taken care of the problems but they don't seem to understand I can't do it all by myself... I feel so hopeless I have cried for hours about it and don't know what to do, is there any way for me to get them completely out by myself I would rather not shave my head sense I am a bigger girl and that wouldn't look to good lol... PLEASE HELP I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO ):

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

Alicia,
Oh my dear, that sounds so frustrating. I hate when people think you have done nothing - they do not understand the resilience of head lice. Looking over what you have written, I have a few questions for you.

I know this is going to sound stupid, but I have to ask, are you sure that what you have in your hair is nits? I only ask because you keep combing and find no bugs. Read more about nits on this blog.

Ok, assuming you have nits, here’s my next question - where are the nits? Lice lay their eggs less than a 1/4 inch away from the scalp (unless you live in a hot tropical country where the temperature and humidity allow them to venture further down the hair shaft). If you see new eggs right near the scalp, then I would suspect an active case of head lice. If the eggs are farther away, then you don't have an active case, you are just dealing with old dead eggs and egg casings. Either way, it's not pretty.

Do you have a really good lice comb? Combs like the Licemeister or the Nit Free Terminator are proper, while the plastic combs that come in lice kits are not. Your comb should have rigid metal teeth that are no more than 0.3 mm apart. Good combs will be able to get out most nits and nymphs (tiny teenage lice).

How are you using your comb? You should be doing wet combing with conditioner as outlined on this blog. It makes a world of difference.

How often are you combing? You should be doing a good combing every couple of days until you have had 2 weeks with no new sightings of nits or lice. You can't just do a couple of days of combing or comb once in a while. You have to keep combing through the lice life cycle to ensure that your catching any new hatchlings. Pull out any old ugly egg shells as you find them (there is no risk if they stay in the hair, but they make people think you have an active case of head lice.)

If you comb for two weeks and have no new eggs or lice, then you can relax - a bit. The fact is, you may have had more than one case of head lice over the last year. You may have dealt with your head lice problem and then got them again from another source. After you have done the 2+weeks of regular combing and have determined that you don't have an active case, you should still do a lice check (via combing) on a regular basis.
As you have probably read on this blog, you should not waste your time on extra cleaning or laundering. Just keep on giving your head the attention it needs using proper tools and I know you can beat this.
Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Hey. I just got rid (atleast i think i did) of my lice using nix and the lice/nitt comb about 2 or 3 days ago. Then today i felt really paranoid so i washed my hair and did the blow dryer thing you said and afterwards i flat ironed my hair in hopes of killing any eggs that might still be in there. I hate any type of bugs, it is my number one fear and sometimes i still feel a little bit of crawling and i feel like my head itches but it really doesn't . Do you think i have to do another treatment or am I just paranoid. I do admit I get paranoid easily and I'm really hoping that is the case ! Also, sometimes i feel like something is crawling on my body, like on my side or my arm. help please !

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

To the most recent Anonymous,

Paranoia is the worst thing about having head lice. It keeps us up at night. Makes us do crazy things. It happens to the best of us. (I still scratch my head when I talk about head lice!)If you just had an active case of head lice, your head will itch for a while (think of how long a mosquito bite itches!) Still, you should keep checking things out on a regular basis.

Please trade in the paranoia for information. Read the posts on this blog (especially the one that says NOT to use a flat iron in the fight against head lice.) Get a good lice comb and comb your hair every couple of days until you've had 2 weeks with no new eggs or bugs. The articles on this blog can walk you through it.

You shouldn't try to deal with head lice by being hyper vigilant and super-paranoid-non-stop-busy for a few days. It will give you a false sense of security. Instead, do a little bit of work every couple of days for a few weeks. You'll have better success.

Anonymous said...

Hello, please help! My 6 year old daughter got lice at school. I used nix and combed for about 5 hours, 3 days later I find more nits and one active louse about the size of a nit. I actually thought it was a nit until I saw it moving with a magnifying glass I was using. I combed and combed some more! I keep checking my head (myself don't have anyone to help) and I haven't found anything on my own head. Thing is, she sleeps in the bed with me. Just me and her in a king size bed. Is it possible even with sleeping in the same bed that I don't have it? Or am I missing something on my own head and gave it back to her? I also don't have a washer or dryer and have to go to the laundry mat. I took all of the bed stuff to the laundry mat the next day after I found her first case, but now I seen more on her (and possibly have it myself) should I go back to the laundry mat? Or do they really not get in bedding Ike everyone claims? PLEASE HELP! I also should add..I am 7 weeks pregnant and literally so stressed out. Thanks and God Bless

Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm 17 and a couple of weeks ago I was feeling itchy and i had my mom look at my hair and she found a couple nits and one bug and she looked more and found nothing so she said she wasn't going to do anything else because she didn't think I had anything. She had me tell my girlfriend because she's the only person I've been with. Anyway my girlfriend's mom checked her hair and all her sister's and found nothing.

Two days ago my girlfriend was at my house staying the night and combed her hair and found a bug. I looked through her hair and picked out all the nits I could find. Later she combed out another bug. She looked at my hair and find three nits but no bug. I have a plastic RID comb, will this get rid of my lice if I keep using it?

I can't tell my mom because she won't let me see her or anyone else for god knows how long. And don't get me started on how my dad would react.

I also haven't been with any of family to give it to them. When my mom checked me I checked her and we checked my sister and they were lice and nit free.

My girlfriend can look through my hair but I really want to know how effective the plastic comb is because I keep combing and I'm not getting anything but I feel itchy. Not like irritation, I feel crawling. I still haven't found a bug yet. I'm a Cosmetology student and school is starting soon. I really don't want one of the students to find anything or give lice to anyone.

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

The plastic RID comb will get our large lice, but may not get out the nymphs or the nits. I would recommend a metal lice comb like the Licemeister or the Nit Free Terminator. As you have seen on this blog, it is best to comb through wet, conditioned hair - there is a much greater chance of detection. Both you and your girlfriend should be combing every couple of days until you have had two full weeks without seeing any new nits or bugs. If you do thorough combings, you will get out all growing bugs before they become adult egg layers. The louse will not venture off of the head until it is mature, so your lice problem will not spread to others during this time. But you have to keep on wet combing. Read this blog for other techniques such as using a hair dryer in the fight. Good luck.

Becky said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

Becki - sorry, I accidently deleted your comment! Oops. Here it is along with my response...

Hi Cathy,
I just found your blog and have some questions.

I found lice on my 6 and 7 year olds about 10 days ago. I freaked out and ran to the pharmacy, got what the pharmacist recommended (Nix) and treated both kids, and myself, even though my husband could not find anything in my hair.

I combed and picked out a bunch of bugs from my daughter's hair and a few from my sons. I didn't really know what I was looking for at the time, or what I needed to do next. I never really looked to see how many nits were combed out initially.

The next day I checked heads briefly, but didn't do any combing. I found a couple of moving bugs, but slow moving.

The next day when I realized that I needed to comb through and pick out all of the nits, I started this process and must have spent close to 6 hours picking tons of nits out of my daughter's hair. Then a couple more hours on my son.

Since then I have done 3 natural treatments and have gone through their heads, every day, with a fine tooth comb, picking out the nits mostly by hand. I have found it easier to see and pull out the nits from their dry hair.

I have not seen any live bugs in a week and today was the first day that I found no nits. Each day I have been finding less and less.

My question is how and when do I know for sure that they are gone? I am feeling good, but still paranoid that I have missed something.

Do I still need to check heads everyday? For how long?

I have been vigilant and don't plan to start slacking now, but I have run myself down from little sleep and major stress.

Any advice would greatly help!

Thanks!

And here's my response...

First, please stop doing 6 hour marathons. And do NOT do any extra cleaning. Please read different blog posts.

It is often easier for some people to see nits when they are dry, but a proper metal lice comb used in wet combing will get out many, many more nits than when you pick with your fingers. Also, lice stop moving (or slow down considerably) when wet and with conditioner on your wet detangled hair, they comb off much more easily. While I don't endorse or use any lice "treatments", I always recommend the purchase of a good lice comb.
How long do you have to keep going? Do a combing every 2-3 days until you have had 2 weeks with no new sightings. At each combing, you can stop when you've combed through 100 times without finding a bug or an egg - but if you don't get to that point for a few days, then only comb for an hour or less. Lice shouldn't keep you from getting sleep. Please read my posts on burnout. Lack of sleep and stress and paranoia can have outcomes that are far worse than the itch of head lice. It's obvious that you are willing to put in the time but think of this as a marathon and not a sprint. Do a smaller amount of work over a longer period of time. You will beat this. Now, get some sleep! Good luck.

Jasmine said...

Hello, I found your blog when I was wondering if you can feel lice crawling in your hair. I don't know if I have lice, my friend warned me that she had them and I have been careful to avoid close head to head contact. I am worried that I am just being paranoid and that it's just a psychological itch - it only occurs occasionally. But to be safe I did attempt to have a go with a nit comb. But I don't know if I did it all that thoroughly - it's hard to do on myself and I have long hair that got tangled mid way. I also lose a lot of hair so I am reluctant to do it to myself. I think the hair loss might also be due to other factors, but all in all I don't really know what my next step should be. Thank you for your blog and your good advice.

Stacey said...

Hi there. A friend of my daughter has given us lice teo summers in a row now. This summer it seems to keep coming back!!!! I have had it come back 4 times and it is ruining my life! We have been lice free for a little over three weeks but now a girl at school in her class has it. I don't want her to go back to school because I don't eant her to get it again. Did we give it to the girl? The nurse did a lice check on the girl and found nothing 3 weeks ago but now she has it. Do you think we will get it back? It came back last time after 3 weeks nit free. I see NOTHING in our hair for over 3 weeks now but I'm so scared. How can it come back after 3 weeks anywat?

Anonymous said...

Maybe a dumb question but here is my problem with wet combing my own hair: I am not sure how to tell if its eggs, nits or just droplets of water in the comb when i hold it up and look at it in between strokes! All I can do is just keep combing and hope for the best. Very upset and discouraged right now.

Anonymous said...

ok, so I'm combing and combing but the pesky nits don't want to come out of the comb with a papertowel, or toilet paper. How do I tell if what is in between the comb are nits or residual conditioner. Those areas in between are so small that it is almost impossible to get out what is in between them.

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

For cleaning your lice comb, when wiping won't do, use dental floss or string to clean between the teeth.

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

And for anonymous who can't tell what is in the lice comb (nits or water droplets), wipe the comb or clean between the teeth with dental floss. Once it is out of the teeth, you will see what it is.

Truman's said...

Can you feel lice crawling on your scalp? I think it's just paranoia since my daughter had lice. I've been to my doctor and checked 2x with nothing but can't stop using the nit comb. I think my scalp is just hypersensitive from all of the combing. I will feel crawling but find nothing when combing wet or dry. I did find a little brown thing on my bathroom sink that was flat but looked like it could have had a little tail as described. Ugh I'm so frustrated and just can't stop with the thought of lice.

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

You can't feel head lice crawling on your head. I totally understand that feeling of crawling - I get it all the time. However, most people don't even notice that they have head lice until they've had it for as long as three months! The hair on our head moves and if we are focused on it, it can feel like something else is on our head. Never use "that crawling feeling" as an indicator of head lice. However, if you start to get an incredible itch, I would do a lice check. But remember, even the itch isn't a definite indicator! There are many reasons we can have an itchy scalp. If you've wet combed with a proper lice comb and found nothing, then I would guess that you don't have lice. And if you've combed your head many, many times and found nothing, then step away from the comb! It is time to give your scalp a break. Over-combing can actually irritate your scalp and increase the itch.

Meg said...

Hi! So I had lice a few weeks ago, and went to a lice lady where they provided heat treatment and extensive combing. I was given the instructions to continue combing for the next week. I had a friend do the combing, and there was literally no nits at all in my hair! They did such a great job! I went for a follow-up dry check and they said I was lice-free.

The problem is, the itch never totally went away, and I assumed it was at first just recovering from the bites and me just being hyperaware of every itch on my head. But it's been getting steadily worse. Now the itch is very bad and feels just as bad as it did when I went for the treatment. There is a lot of tiny white debris in my hair that doesn't come out in the shower...but it doesn't come out in my metal nit comb either! However, it does move when I brush it with my fingers. Are they nits if they aren't coming out on the comb? They could be dandruff, but when I was doing the combing before, I literally had no dandruff and now there is so much!

Also, while I was combing with the nit comb yesterday, I found a little black bug in the sink, but I don't know if it came from my here. It was black with two long feelers...is that the louse?

Anonymous said...

Someone please help me I just found out my adopted Granny had head lice and I got it from her. The last time I had head lice when I was 12 years old. My hair is really long and very thick. Please email me at Littlemisspriss28@gmail.com
P.S I don't want to cut

Anonymous said...

My daughter came home with head lice over a month ago and its been a battle. I think she and I are finally lice free but now the top of my head is painful and sore to the touch. What can I do to relieve the pain?

Elaine said...

Hi
I just found out I have head lice that night I did a treatment for it and that I've been brushing my hair with the lice brush thing n I haven't found any bugs since than but sometimes I find nits not many maybe 5 or a lil more n than sometimes I don't at all ...is that a bad or good sign? Also I have a five month old baby I don't know wat to do I don't want him to get lice so I put baby oil in his hair is that alright?
Thanks
M

Anonymous said...

I have five kids and 4 are girls with pretty long hair.we have had problems constantly especially with my 13 year old and i found a huge female in my hair last night i think she was close to death cause she was barely moving.i have no family or friends that can do my hair and a 2 year old baby that wont alow me to take the time on my hair that is needed any suggestions?thank you so much

Garry Buckley said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I have always started itching when someone told me they had lice. Almost 2 weeks ago my daughter came to me saying she thinks she had it. I looked and to my surprise there was quite a few on her head. We went straight for the bathroom it was 10:30 at night so all my local stores were closed I took vinegar and a brush (all that I had at the moment). Poured the vinegar on her head while I pulled what I could out with my fingers. Next morning I went to the store got RID treated her head and also my sons (didn't see any on him), my head and my nieces. My niece checked mine but didn't see anything. I seen 3 live ones on strands of my nieces hair but not near the scalp. Combed my hair (still combing) a couple times a day. I have very bad dandruff and just had my hair dyed brown so the dandruff is stained from that. I pull stuff out sometimes I can't tell if they are nits or dandruff. I comb my daughters hair everyday. I still pull stuff out. I have done my husbands head haven't seen anything. Exactly 1 week from treating I seen 1 live one and 1 dead egg in my sons hair. 3 live ones on my daughter. We are currently doing the olive oil 16 hour leave on. I know I am paranoid but trying to be thorough. I read online to make sure everything is washed and swept. You say don't worry about that. I have been doing laundry and sweeping everyday. I haven't seen any live ones in 6 days. My sister says she is checking my niece as she will be coming back in a week for vacation. When can I say enough is enough and relax? I did find a local place that does in home visits is it worth the $? With it being summer this has been 2 really long weeks we have a pool and I read no swimming for at least 2 weeks. My daughter is also afraid of going to friends houses and we have no idea as to were she got them unless it was the movie theater. No one else we have been around have them.

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

Hello,
When can you relax? Now. The cleaning/washing frenzy does not help and maintains your high level of paranoia. Believe me, I truly understand why head lice makes us panicked. But it is time to just stop wasting energy on things that don't work and focus on the things that do.

So, you did a treatment with a pesticide. That's fine. The reason they tell you not to go swimming for a while is because it will make the pesticide ineffective. However, the pesticides are already rather ineffective. So, in my mind, swim, swim, swim!

Another thing that keeps up the paranoia is wondering where or how your kids got head lice. There are things worse than head lice - such as keeping your family from doing the activities they love. You may never know where you got the lice from. But even if you did know, what does that change? Anyone you know could have them - it you usually take a person a long time before they realize they have head lice. Or, others that may have nits may not have an active case of head lice. So, guessing does not protect you. On a past blog post, I talked about my own children who had friends on our block who regularly had head lice (the mom did not want me to comb their heads)and they all hugged and played and I just made sure that I did weekly lice checks.

Regular combing is the thing to do - with a good comb, such as the Licemeister or the Nit Free Terminator. Comb every few days - not everyday, not marathon combings. Once you have had 2 weeks with no new sightings of nits or bugs, then you can relax...sort of. Lice checks should still happen on a regular basis.

So, breathe. You obviously are willing to put in whatever it takes to beat this. So, beat it by doing only what is effective, maintaining your sanity, and having fun with your wonderful family. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I was wondering if it is possible to get lice threw touching someones hair? I had a client today (I do hair) and a week ago she had dead lice in her hair. Today she came back, and her mom said that they are all gone and that the school nurse said she's all clear. I was very hesitant on taking her, but my boss kinda put me on the spot in front of her so I agreed to cut her hair anyway. I made sure I pulled my hair back before bringing her back just in case. I brought her to the shampoo bowl and she still had little "dead" lice in her hair behind her ears. At this point I have already touched her hair with my bare hands, just double checking for any lice still on the hair (and I found some) I remained calm, and just grabbed her parent to let her know I was not able to proceed with her hair service, that she will have to come back once everything is out of her hair. I then grabbed all my hair tools that was around and put them in our salon disinfectant and continued to wash my hands 3 times.Is there any way I could have gotten a dead lice or something on me that might turn into real live lice? I know they say they "play dead" sometimes but idk if I should believe it or not.

Anonymous said...

Hello there.

Last Sunday my head was itching and I felt something crawl through my hair. We have a bad case of flas we are fightng right no, and I have found fleas in my hair, so I figured it was nothing to worry about.

But then on Sunday I was itching my head and I found a louse inder my nail (eeeeww!!!!! I hate bugs!) I panicked bcause I got this once in 6th grae and couln't completely get rid of it until 8th grade. I am going into 10h and our school year is starting up agin so I washed my hair with rid shampoo and dawn. I had my mom check my hair and she didn't see ANYTHING. No bugs, no nits, nothing.

But just earlier today I found ANOTHER bug crawling on my bed (eeeeeeeewwwie!!) I am freaking out because I do not have the time to be combing daily fir hours (my hair is very long and very fine). I have a metal fine tooth comb but my dad will not let me use it because it is supposedly a flea comb (but we never use it on animals). I am worried about this bcause last Sunday I took all blankets, sheet, pillows, and anything else off my bed and washed them in hot water dried them on high heat for 40 minutes I slept without pillows or blankets for three days. I sprayed my bed with RID about 5 times and vacuumed multiple times and I STILL got it???? I sprayed and vacuumed the cars, furniture, and even my brother's bed (I never go into my dad's room) because I am really freaky about this.
I do not have conditioner for my hair but my mom might have some. Btw I found the first bug right after church so idk if it came from there or what. I am really worried any help???? Thanks in advance!!!

heather said...

I just recently found lice in my 4 yr olds hair and am freaking out as I'm sure most people do. I have psoriasis in my scalp and am not sure if the itching is from the bugs (I found a bug a couple days ago in my hair AFTER having not one but TWO drs check and tell me there was nothing there). Any tips how to self check and treat someone with my issue????

heather said...

Also if it helps I have long thick hair that tangles easy even when wet

Anonymous said...

Hi there! Reading your blog has eased some of my fears considerably. My husband and I have been doing wet combing for almost a week now with the NitFree comb. After about the second time we are not really finding much in either of our daughters' hair, or in mine. My husband is EXTREMELY thorough (maybe too thorough according to your posts, as it can take as long as 3 hours to do my extremely thick, curly hair!). One thing that we are finding difficult is trying to decipher if there are actually nits in the hair. We really can't see any when we do a hair check. Looking at pics online, the pictures are so magnified it is hard to assess their actual size. And to make matters more confusing, we all have different coloured hair - one very blond, one dirty blond and me, very dark brown. We look for the teardrop shaped nits but don't really see any. And now after combing through for a week occasionally we may see a dark speck on the paper towel so small that the shape of it is indistinguisable. Are the nits usually that difficult to see? We both have good vision and have even used a small magnifier used for reading. The first comb through got out live lice but we have not found any since. And once again to check, we should continue doing the comb outs at least for another 2 weeks? Should my husband not be taking as long when combing? (about 2 hours/person?)

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

I wouldn't worry too much about finding nits. Worry more about finding lice. Eggs, whether you know what they look like or not, can be easily missed. If they are viable, they will hatch and if you are doing regular combing, you will catch the lice before they lay more eggs. You will simply outrun the cycle if you do thorough combing every few days and if you have had 2 weeks with no new sightings, then I would assume that you are all right. However, remember that head lice can come from a variety of heads that we hang out with. We can deal with one problem and then another can start from a completely different source. I would encourage you and everyone in your household to do occasional lice combings - routine checks before any itching or sightings happen.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for bringing perspective.it is certainly hard to have ANY when dealing with these critters. The whole family did the nix treatment and for the last 8 days I have used a combination of olive oil/tea tree oil (hopefully this has the same effect as conditioner? ) and then a comb through. After 8 days the combs are finally clear. Should I continue to do the olive oil or should I switch to conditioner? Also should I continue to do every day or every 3rd day? Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

I started scratching a month ago but I had 5 people check me and said they saw nothing then this friday I felt something in my hair and pulled out a lice. So I'm suffering ! I did two rid treatments and still found living ones , so I went to the doctor and they prescribed Permethrin 5% . Ive had it on under a shower cap for 9 hours so far , they told me 12 so getting close. I'm so scared they will still be living :(.. I have a busy month with things planned that I feel I have to cancel. I hate this .

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

Permethrin at that concentration is generally used for scabies and not lice. Permethrin is the synthetic version of pyrethrin, the active ingredient in RID (though RID has it at a much smaller concentration than what you are using now.) If you used RID twice and it didn't work (which it common because studies have shown that lice are resistant to these neurotoxins), then there is always a chance that they might be resistant to it with the new cream you were given. Does your pharmacist know that you were given this for lice and not for scabies? I encourage you to get a second medical opinion.

If you read this blog, you know that I never recommend any cream/shampoo/treatments for head lice - especially not permethrin because of its proven ineffectiveness. Please get a good lice come and comb out your head lice. If 5 people have looked at your head and didn't see anything, you can be fairly confident that this situation has not gone out of control. I encourage you to get a lice comb and follow the wet combing tips on this blog. If you had tried this from the start, in small chunks of time over many days, you could probably have beaten it in fewer than the 12 hours you were told to keep the permethrin on your head.
Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Im 16 and have had Head lice on and off for years, they just won't go away! My mum isn't helping me and my boyfriends mum is saying that I'm not trying to treat it ( when I am) and threating to not let me in their house!
I have such a heavy infestation that I am starting to lose sleep from it, this is the worse my hair has ever been, help please :(

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

I am so sorry that you have been dealing with this for so long. How frustrating - especially when you don't feel you have any support. You say you have been treating it - how have you been treating it? If you have been just using so-called shampoos, you already know they are not enough. You need to get the lice off the head. Wet combing is a great way to do this. If you can, get a good metal lice comb with long rigid teeth close together. It will really help in getting out the nits. And this is probably a big part of the problem - even if you get out the lice, the nits make it look like you still have them. Though you can deal with this yourself with a good comb, having a buddy to help you can really see where the egg shells are which is a help when your hair is riddled with them. Do you think your boyfriend would be interested in helping with this? He could help you with wet combing, combing and combing until the eggs and egg shells are gone too. If you want the lice to be gone for good (at least this batch of them), make sure you do regular combings every few days until you have 2 weeks of combing where you found no lice. Also, read articles on this blog to see how a hair dryer can also help you.
If you have had headlice for so long, do you think your mom might have it as well? Please encourage her to give her hair a wet combing. Maybe you can help her and that may make her more willing to help you. And of course, if you have been hugging your boyfriend, he should be checked too. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
I think I've finally beat the lice that's infected me, DH & my two girls. I think... I need to know what in actual size lice look like. Every time I comb, wet or dry there are teeny tiny little brown things that only show up in the bowl of water. Are they lice, or just like dirt or something? Every picture on the internet is a closeup, I need to see the real deal. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
I think I've finally beat the lice that's infected me, DH & my two girls. I think... I need to know what in actual size lice look like. Every time I comb, wet or dry there are teeny tiny little brown things (like only one or two) that only show up in the bowl of water. Are they lice, or just like dirt or something? Every picture on the internet is a closeup, I need to see the real deal. Any suggestions?