You're never too young to fight headlice.

Today I met a couple of delightful young women who just happen to have head lice.  Thankfully, head lice has not dampened their charming personalities. I was so disappointed that I couldn't stay and visit with them - they were watching campy scary movies. It would have been a hoot! (Hey, I think something like Dracula would be the perfect movie to pick head lice too!) Head lice has been a problem for these girls for a long time.  I truly understand how this can happen as head lice are not to be underestimated in their resilience.

When we are young, our parents take care of problems such as head lice; small children don't have the information, the patience, the stamina, or the drive to deal with it on their own. However, once we get to the age where we start taking care of ourselves more - taking charge of our own appearance, our own grooming - we can probably learn to take some responsibility for dealing with our head lice problems as well. 

My advice to these beautiful girls was to use the wet combing and blow drying techniques on alternating days until a full two weeks go by without ANY signs of bugs or new eggs.  (You can read about how to do these techniques on this blog.)  I felt these ladies were at the age where they could start to take charge of their own head lice problems (although Mom's extra encouragement is always a bonus!)  In fact, they could help each other out - it's always great to have a buddy to help deal with head lice.

Ladies, enjoy watching the bloodsuckers on the scary movies and good luck getting the bloodsuckers off your heads!  Call me if you have any questions. 


Anonymous said...

I wanted to send you Cathy a note to thank you for a great service. Your service was helpful. Thanks for being patient and helping my family. Now I feel like I can start a new part of my life. I am so glad I chose you.

Anonymous said...

I have a question--how do I tell the difference between nits/lice and dandruff on a nitcomb?

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

Good question. This may be hard to do on the lice comb. You need a better look at them. Your best bet is to wipe them off the comb with a piece of toilet tissue or paper towel. On the paper, you can see their shape more clearly. Nits are always the uniform oval-ish shape and are always the same size. On the white paper towel, they will appear darker and you should be able to easily see their shape. If you look VERY closely, it can almost look like nits have a teeny tail. This is a part of the hair shaft that has ripped off with the nit - those things are really glued to the hair.
If you see some nits in the hair (and you know they are nits because they are the right shape and can only be removed by scraping them off the hair), keep these as samples to compare other hair debris too. Use clear tape to tape them to the underside of a white margerine container lid.
Not every speck that you see will be a nit, but I always say, if you know for sure that lice have been on the head,and you see something you are not sure about, when in doubt, pull it out.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the response. :D What do lice look like on the comb? I find brown things on the teeth sometimes, but they don't look like bugs? They just look like brown shapes.

For cleaning the combs, I see people mention boiling water. Does it have to be boiling water, or can it be tap water on the hottest setting?

Anonymous said...

Oh, also do you have to worry about plastic bagging pillows? Or would that also fall under your list of excessive cleaning? (:

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

So many questions! So many answers...
Brown shapes on the comb? If they aren't bugs, they could be any number of things. Scabs? Skin? Sand? If it is the size of an adult bug but doesn't look like a bug, you can be certain it isn't one. However, when lice first hatch, they are really tiny and you can't always easily see the outline of their legs. I carry a microscope with me when I go on calls so I can check out these unknown specks but this is unnecessary - I do this just for fun. If you see something on the head and you are not sure what it is, just remove it. If it was a louse, you have now dealt with it. One caution: I have been to homes where all they have are "unknown brown things" on their heads; where they have never seen an actual louse on the head but they kept combing,picking,searching for these brown things just in case they were lice. It's easy to get crazy this way. If no actual lice or nits have been spotted after a good wet lice combing, then relax. Save your energies for when you have proof that head lice are present.

As for bagging items, would you normally bag your belongings in your everyday cleaning? No? Then it is excessive. Housecleaning does not deal with head lice. The only effective method of dealing with head lice is to deal with what is on the head. Spending precious time bagging items, washing bedding, and vacuuming furniture is not helpful. I truly understand why people want to do these things, but they have no proven effectiveness and they can actually cause harm when people do these extra chores instead of putting time into getting the lice off the head or giving up sleep for these things.
As for washing the combs, boiling is unnecessary (I boil my combs because I use them on the heads of people from different households. I don't do it to kill lice, I do it to kill germs.)Just make sure the comb is cleaned off - no lice or nits in the teeth. That said, most people won't rest unless their combs are boiled. If you do worry that you've missed something, go ahead and boil the combs - just throw them in a tall cup and pour boiling water on them. No need to have them sit in boiling water for a long time.

One more thing - If something gets stuck in your lice comb, use dental floss to get it out - don't pry the teeth apart.
Good luck!

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

How did you find out you had head lice? Did you actually see a bug? Because just finding a nit isn't really enough.

It's easy for any of us to get a bit crazy around head lice. If you did find a bug, and you have been combing everyday since you first found out and haven't seen anymore bugs, then maybe you have dealt with it. If you get too anxious and start to question what you are seeing and if you are letting paranoia getting the better of you, then you might want to give yourself a limit to your lice combing. Instead of combing to one hundred strokes (where you may be second guessing what you see and end up combing forever), comb with your lice comb for just 30 minutes a day or every couple of days. I believe you can still outrun head lice this way. And once you have had two weeks with no sightings, you can stop the daily combings.

It is so easy to become fixated on head lice and we can start to think of little else. We must resist the urge to do this. Be intentional about setting boundaries and creating a lice combing schedule that works for you and allows you to have a life.

Anonymous said...

I went to the doctor for an itchy scalp and she found some nits. I've been combing for three days and I've found one or two nits, and maybe a bug yesterday? It almost looked like a shell, so I wasn't certain. Which is why I wanted to know if you'd see the legs or something, ahaha. But I did read in some places that lice shed as they grow older? I'm worried that maybe I'm missing them, lol.

I will definitely try to keep that in mind. :D Thank you.

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...


Above is the link to a study about how medical professionals often misdiagnose head lice. Do you know anyone who has recently had head lice? Could they look at your head or what you saw as nits? They might have a better idea about what you are dealing with. It sounds like if you had a lice problem, it was small. You may not have head lice but if you comb thoroughly and regularly with a good lice comb for a couple of weeks, you will still deal with it. But don't overdo it - excessive combing can irritate your scalp too.

Anonymous said...


I think i might have--one part of my scalp is sensitive to the teeth of the comb and when I comb it, something comes out which I thought was either dandruff or nits. When I touched that area of my scalp afterwards, it was a yellow scab so I wasn't entirely sure which of the three it was.

Anonymous said...

Sorry me again, lol. :c

I was wondering, do nits get unstuck after a shower? Because I found something about an inch and a half away from the root of my hair and it was kind of stuck, but I was more assuming this was because my hair was all wet? And I hadn't run over that side of my hair except with a normal brush yet.

Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

First off, I love your blog! Never thought taking about lice could have such humor attached to it! So I'm a teacher and literally my first week working I found out one of the kids had lice. Didn't panic too much until weeks later when I started to itch and so did my daughter. I could really see anything in either of our scalps , she had incredibly think curly hair and mines pretty course too, but as a precaution I drenched our heads in coconut oil. A day later little brown dots began to fall out! Upon careful examination they were itty bitty lice, dead, but obviously once living. I have yet to see a live one, but I'm worried they may be there. Should I continue with the cocunut oil? The two of us are literally drenched in it!