Question: I combed and got rid of the lice but found no nits. Am I lice free?
Answer: Where there's smoke there's usually fire and where there's lice, there are usually nits. Not always, but you should keep on wet combing every few days just in case a missed nit turns into a unwanted bug. When you have been regularly combing for 2 weeks with no new bug sightings, that's when I think you can breathe a sigh of relief and reduce your combing to routine lice checking.
Question: Two months ago we had head lice and we beat it but now my daughter has it again. Why?
Answer: I don't know. Either something was missed the last time your daughter had lice or she just got it again from someone else. Beating lice once doesn't mean that you will never get lice again. Just take a breath and start combing. Remember, don't waste your time on ineffective busy work - no extra laundry washing, vacuuming, or bagging up toys. Just get those suckers off the head.
Question: Is there anything I can do to prevent from getting head lice?
Nope. Well, you could avoid all human contact for the rest of your life but since this would lower your quality of life significantly, I wouldn't recommend it. Preventative "treatments" don't work. Just do a routine lice wet combing once in a while and if you find lice, you'll be able to deal with it quickly before it becomes a huge problem.
Question: Can head lice be spread to me if my hand touched someone who had head lice?
Answer: No. Lice are not a virus. You're not going to get head lice from someone you shake hands with. Even if you picked the louse off someone's head, you won't get lice unless you drop it on your own head. Lice are spread through head to head contact. Lice move from warm to warm and are rather useless off of the head. When I was doing lice and nit picking in people's homes, I never got head lice from anyone I worked with. Health professionals or hairdressers should not worry about getting head lice from the people they work with unless they are particularly "huggy".
Question: We got rid of the head lice, but my head is still itchy. Does this mean I still have lice?
Answer: Not necessarily. If you've done the combing over the appropriate amount of time and have no signs of the bugs, you're probably still reacting to the bite. When you get a mosquito bite, the bug doesn't have to be around for you to itch, right? But the itch bothers you for quite a while. Same with lice. You also could be itchy because combing and blow drying and picking can irritate your scalp. And if you are a person who also did some sort of chemical treatment, this could be irritating as well. And then there is simply the possibility that after having head lice, you are now hyper-sensitive to any itch on your head. Hey, I'm scratching my head right now just writing this. This is normal. But when in doubt, do a wet combing.
Question: I have dandruff. I have psoriasis. How can I tell if the itch is head lice?
Answer: Try to minimize the skin flakes using whatever treatment your doctor recommends. Skin issues are not my specialty but if you can reduce the flakes, you will reduce the confusion about what you see in your lice comb. Lice eggs don't look like dandruff - they are uniform in shape and not bumpy or irregular like skin flakes. But if you are still unsure if you have nits, you can be sure that lice themselves don't look like skin flakes. If someone in your home has lice, you should be thoroughly wet combing on a regular basis. If you don't find bugs after two weeks, it is likely that they are not the cause of your itch.
Question: We haven't had lice for months and I just found a nit. Do we have head lice again?
Answer: Not necessarily. Where was the nit? Was it right near the scalp? Start combing just in case. Was it 3 inches down the hair shaft? Don't worry too much but still do regular lice checks as part of your family's routine.
Question: My mom got the lice out of my hair but she still wants me to shave my head because she is overwhelmed with all the egg shells. She thinks we will never get them out. Is shaving my head my only option?
Answer: If you are absolutely certain you have rid yourself of lice but still have the egg shells in your hair, you don't have to remove them but I know they don't look pretty. A good metal lice comb and a good wet combing with water and conditioner can still remove most of them. I once was at a home where there was a girl with long hair who had had lice for years. Her hair had so many egg shells through out that it looked like someone had shaken powder all over her head. It looked like an almost insurmountable problem. However, when I started combing, I soon found she had no more actual lice than most of my other clients but the egg shell ridden hair really put people off. I combed and combed and combed and by the end of the night, her hair looked egg free. A worker from the girl's school called me the next day to ask me what I had used in the child's hair and was amazed that I had simply combed. So, shaving your head is not your only option. (I have to admit though, it is quicker.)
And as for the rest of the questions:
Don't waste time wondering where you got lice, why you got lice again, or what you ever did to deserve this. If one person in the house has head lice, it doesn't mean that everyone will but everyone should still be combed regularly. Lice happens. They suck (literally) but you can always outrun them. Even if you are on your own, a good metal lice comb and regular, thorough wet combing with conditioner can beat this problem. A hair dryer can help too - read this blog for more info about this. Don't waste time on dealing with head lice that are not on the head - no extra house cleaning for you. With a bit of consistent effort and some perspective (it's just head lice!) you can beat this.
Posted by Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady.