Nits and head lice in babies — BabyCentre UK
Nits and head lice in babies
- 1 Nits and head lice in babies
- 2 What are head lice?
- 3 How can my baby catch head lice?
- 4 How can I tell if my child has head lice?
- 5 How do I get rid of head lice?
- 6 Should I keep my baby home from nursery?
- 7 Is there anything I can do to prevent head lice?
- 8 Learn the Top FAQs about Head Lice
- 9 What are head lice?
- 10 What do head lice look like?
- 11 What do nits (eggs) look like?
- 12 How do you identify a case of head lice?
- 13 How long does it take for a nit to hatch?
- 14 How many nits does a louse lay?
- 15 How long can lice live off of the head?
- 16 Are lice dangerous and do they carry disease?
- 17 How do I kill lice in the home?
- 18 Do I have to throw away pillows from the bed to get rid of lice at home?
- 19 How do I clean our combs and brushes after lice treatment?
- 20 Do chemical lice treatments work to kill lice?
- 21 How are lice spread from person to person?
- 22 If my child has lice does that mean her hair was dirty?
- 23 Who gets head lice?
- 24 How to get rid of head lice?
- 25 How do you prevent head lice?
- 26 Does everyone feel itchy from lice?
- 27 Do I have to tell my child’s friends and her school?
- 28 Does swimming spread head lice?
- 29 What is the school policy regarding nits and allowing children back to school?
- 30 Do pets carry lice?
- 31 How to Find Head Lice in Your Child’s Hair
- 32 How to Check for Head Lice and Nits
- 33 The Nice Lice Lady
- 34 5/09/2010
In this article
What are head lice?
Head lice are tiny, wingless insects that live in our hair (NHS 2018) . They’re sometimes also known as «nits», although this name technically refers to the eggs that they lay on the hair shaft (NHS 2018) .
It can be hard to spot if your baby has head lice, but you may notice little dark specks in his hair (NHS 2018) . The insects are very small, about the size of sesame seeds (NICE 2016) .
Headlice eggs (nits) are even smaller, and can be yellow, brown or white (NHS 2018) . They may look a bit like dandruff (NICE 2016) , except that they’re sticky and can be difficult to remove from your baby’s hair (Harding 2016) .
On average, people with head lice tend to have about 10 insects on their scalp at a time (BAD 2017) . Female lice can live for up to 40 days, during which time they can lay more than 100 eggs (BAD 2017) . The eggs hatch within about 10 days, and a week after that, the females will be able to lay more eggs of their own (BAD 2017) .
If left untreated, head lice can last for a long time, and be very irritating for your baby, though they’re unlikely to cause him any harm (NICE 2016) . Fortunately, nits and head lice can usually be removed by following a wet-combing technique (NHS 2018) .
How can my baby catch head lice?
Head lice are very common, especially in older children, aged four to 11 (NICE 2016) . If your baby has older brothers or sisters, or often spends time around older children, it’s easy for him to catch them, too (NICE 2016) . Anyone, whether a baby or an adult, can pick up head lice, as long as they have enough hair (NICE 2016) !
Head lice can’t jump, fly or swim, so they need close head-to-head contact to be able to clamber from one head to another (NICE 2016) . They only live on human hair, so your baby can’t catch them from your pets (NICE 2016) .
There’s no evidence that head lice prefer either clean or dirty hair, and they’re not a sign of poor hygiene (Harding 2016) .
Head lice die within a day or two away from the scalp, so they don’t usually spread from sharing clothing, bedding, towels, or hats (NICE 2016) . There’s no need to wash and sterilise your child’s things (NHS 2018) .
How can I tell if my child has head lice?
Head lice are incredibly well camouflaged in your baby’s hair and can be difficult to detect (NHS 2018) .
The most obvious sign will be if your baby scratches his head a lot (Harding 2016) . You may also notice that he’s more irritable than usual, and he might have more trouble sleeping if the itching keeps him awake at night (NICE 2016) . However, not all people get an itchy head when they have lice, and your baby may not even notice them (BAD 2017, Harding 2016) .
The best way to find out if your child has lice is to comb through his hair while it’s wet, using a fine-toothed nit comb. You can buy a special nit comb from your pharmacy or online.
Here’s how to check your baby’s hair for head lice using a nit comb:
Start by washing your baby’s hair with his usual shampoo, then rinse and apply plenty of conditioner (NICE 2016) . Leaving the conditioner in, use a wide-toothed comb to detangle your baby’s hair if necessary (NICE 2016) .
Use a fine-toothed nit comb, slotting the teeth into a section of hair at the roots and drawing it down to the tips of the hair (NICE 2016) . Wet, conditioner-coated lice stay still and will be caught in the teeth of the comb (Harding 2016) . After each stroke, wipe the teeth both sides with kitchen roll or rinse under a tap to remove any lice and eggs (NICE 2016) .
If your child has head lice, you may be able to see the following:
- Yellowish nits, which look a bit like dandruff, attached to your baby’s hair near the roots (BAD 2017) .
- White empty egg sacs attached to his hair further away from the roots (BAD 2017) .
- Live, grey-brown head lice on his scalp and hair (BAD 2017) .
- Louse droppings on your baby’s things. Look out for tiny dark specs on his bedding or clothes (BAD 2017) .
- Less commonly, your baby may develop a rash on the back of his neck caused by irritation from louse droppings (NICE 2016) .
Rarely, sore or broken skin from scratching or irritation can become infected, for example with impetigo bacteria (BAD 2017, NICE 2016) . This can make your baby’s scalp very sore, and he may get a fever and seem generally under the weather (BAD 2014) . If you think your child’s scalp is infected, or if you have any other concerns about his symptoms, take him to your GP.
How do I get rid of head lice?
Most chemical head lice treatments aren’t suitable for babies under two years old (NICE 2016) . So the best way to get rid of your little one’s head lice is by wet-combing, using the same technique as you would when checking for head lice (described above) (NICE 2016) . Wet-combing is most effective if you do it every four days for two weeks (NICE 2016) .
If you still find head lice in your baby’s hair after two weeks of combing, see your pharmacist. She’ll be able to help you find a chemical treatment that’s safe for your baby, and explain how to use it safely (NHS 2018) .
If anyone else in your home also has head lice, it’s important to treat them at the same time, so they can’t pass the lice back to your baby (NICE 2016) . If your little one has older siblings, find out how to treat them in our article on head lice in children.
Other methods for removing head lice aren’t recommended:
- Electronic combs. These are battery-powered, fine-toothed combs that electrocute lice. However, not only are they expensive, they can also pose a safety risk for your baby, so it’s best to avoid them.
- Natural methods. You can buy shampoos and lotions containing essential oils, such as tea tree and eucalyptus, but there is no evidence that they work.
- (NICE 2016)
Should I keep my baby home from nursery?
It’s normally fine for your baby to go to nursery, playgroup or a childminder when he has head lice (NICE 2016) . Head lice often don’t cause any symptoms for weeks or months after a person catches them, so chances are he’s already been going in with them for a little while (Harding 2016) . Fortunately, they’re so common and harmless that they’re unlikely to cause any problems for his playmates.
However, it’s always a good idea to let your childcare provider know that your little one has head lice, just in case. That way, they can let other parents know that head lice are going around, so they can treat their own children if necessary. This will help to reduce the chances of your baby picking them up again once you’ve treated him (Harding 2016) .
Is there anything I can do to prevent head lice?
Sadly, there isn’t much you can do to stop your baby getting head lice (Harding 2016) . They’re just a normal fact of life. If you’re worried about an outbreak of lice at your baby’s childcare, wet-combing your child’s hair every week is the best thing to do (NICE 2016) . This will help you to spot and treat them quickly if your baby does catch them.
Don’t use chemical head lice treatments unless you’ve seen live lice in your child’s hair. This won’t help to prevent head lice, and it’s not safe for your baby (CKS/NICE 2010) .
Some companies sell products that claim to be head lice repellents, but there’s no evidence that they work (NICE 2016) . Instead, it’s better to invest in a good nit comb so that you can wet-comb your child’s hair regularly if you have any concerns.
Not sure if your baby has head lice? Find out what else might make his head itchy in our photo gallery of common skin conditions.
Learn the Top FAQs about Head Lice
What are head lice?
Head lice are insects that can be found on the head, eyebrows, and eyelashes of humans. Head lice feed on human blood three times day and live close to the human scalp; they need the temperature of the human head to survive.
What do head lice look like?
Adults are about the size of a sesame seed, have 6 legs, are wingless and have a brownish tinge.
What do nits (eggs) look like?
Nits are laid on the hair shaft, close to the scalp and are glued to the hair shaft. They are oval in shape. They look brown when placed against a white background and are encased in a translucent shell.
How do you identify a case of head lice?
It can be difficult to identify a case of head lice. Lice move quickly and scoot from the light. Use of a magnifying lens and a fine-toothed comb may assist in finding lice. If you don’t see a live bug, then look for nits that are cemented to the hair within a ¼ inch of base of the hair. Nits that are attached more than ¼ inch from the base of the hair shaft are usually dead or already hatched. Nits may be confused with other things found in the hair such as dandruff, product residue, or pieces of dirt. If you are unsure of a head lice diagnosis call in LiceDoctors and we can let you know for sure.
How long does it take for a nit to hatch?
Nits take 7-10 days to develop and hatch. Nits have an impenetrable shell which protects the baby louse.
How many nits does a louse lay?
A louse lays up to 6-10 eggs a day and can live 30 days before it dies. That means each bug can lay 180-300 eggs before it dies.
How long can lice live off of the head?
Lice feed on human blood from the scalp up to 3 times daily and will die within 24-36 hours when off the head.
Are lice dangerous and do they carry disease?
No, lice can cause itching and a rash, but do not carry disease. People ask can lice kill you? The answer is “no”.
How do I kill lice in the home?
You do not need to bag all the toys or vacuum everything in the home. That is overkill because the lice and nits will be dead within a day off the head. You can wipe down the car seats and sofa with a cloth or lint brush but at LiceDoctors, we say, “It’s the head not the house” that makes the difference.
Do I have to throw away pillows from the bed to get rid of lice at home?
No. Lice are not like bed bugs. They can not live in the bedding. You can wash the sheets the day of the treatment to wash away any bugs that may have crawled off the head.
How do I clean our combs and brushes after lice treatment?
You can boil them for 3 minutes or leave them in the freezer overnight.
Do chemical lice treatments work to kill lice?
There is an increasing resistance among lice to the chemical shampoos/pesticides and, in addition, some of the more efficacious chemicals have been removed from the pesticides due to their harmful side effects. Today’s lice are so hearty/resistant as to be dubbed “super lice”. Neither prescription lice medication nor OTC shampoos can be guaranteed to kill lice. The best approach is to look at natural remedies for lice.
How are lice spread from person to person?
Lice transmission is generally from head to head contact. Lice can be transferred through objects like caps, helmets, and hair brushes, but this is less common.
If my child has lice does that mean her hair was dirty?
No. Lice like clean hair. If there is too much oil in the hair, it is difficult for the louse to adhere to the hair.
Who gets head lice?
Anyone can get lice; no one is immune. In the U.S, infestation with head lice is usually found among pre-school children who attend child care and among elementary schoolchildren and their families to whom the lice spread from the infested child.
How to get rid of head lice?
The only remedy for head lice is to physically remove the nits from the hair. There are no shortcuts. Nits stick to the hair and you have to pull them off. Using a bright light helps to find the nits that camouflage in the hair. That is why many parents choose to bring in professional who knows how to identify nits and can get them all out.
How do you prevent head lice?
Unless you keep your child in a bubble, there is no guaranteed way to prevent head lice. Parents should check children’s hair weekly for lice. When possible use natural sunlight as it makes it easier to see lice and nits. Put long hair in a bun or braid and cover with lice repellent or hair spray, gel, or mousse.
Does everyone feel itchy from lice?
No. A person may have several lice and be asymptomatic or may have one louse and itch a lot.
Do I have to tell my child’s friends and her school?
The choice is yours but it is better to let his/her friends know so that they can check to see if they have lice as well. If they do have lice, they need to eradicate it for themselves and so that they don’t transmit lice back to your child.
Does swimming spread head lice?
Head lice stay on the human head when submerged in a swimming pool. Chlorine does not kill head lice. If two people’s head are next to each other in a pool, then it is possible for lice to spread from one person to another.
What is the school policy regarding nits and allowing children back to school?
The American Pediatric Association has recommended that schools drop “no nit” policies as children were missing too much school. The association states that by the time a case is discovered, the child has been in school already for at least 2 weeks. Some schools maintain a “no nit” policy while others have dropped it.
Do pets carry lice?
No pets do not carry lice. Lice and nits only live on human’s heads.
How to Find Head Lice in Your Child’s Hair
Jonathan Jassey, DO, is a board-certified private pediatrician at Bellmore Merrick Medical in Bellmore, New York.
Peter Dazeley / Getty Images
Do you think your kids have lice? Are they itching their heads or have you gotten a message from school that lice are going around? If so, it’s time to give their heads a good check.
Most parents shudder at the thought that their child might have head lice. But being able to recognize lice your child’s head will let you get rid of them as soon as possible. It will also help to make sure he doesn’t pass them on to other kids. Head lice often cause itching, so if you see your child often scratching his head, especially the back of his head, check him for head lice.
How to Check for Head Lice and Nits
- Review head lice pictures to help you understand what you are looking for in your child’s hair, including live lice and nits (lice eggs).
- Wash your child’s hair with a regular shampoo and hair conditioner and then check your child’s hair after you rinse and dry it, but while it is still damp. The hair conditioner can make it easier to comb through your child’s hair.
- If your child has a lot of hair or very long hair, it can help to part the hair and keep it separated with clips and then go through each section one at a time.
- Look for live lice crawling on your child’s head. Although they may be anywhere, they are most commonly found at the back of your child’s head, near his neck, and behind his ears. Be aware that lice move very quickly, and are only about the size of a sesame seed, so you may have to be patient to find one. Also, the average child, even with a moderate lice infestation, may have very few—about 10 or 12—live lice.
- Don’t panic if you spot a live head louse. Your child will likely get upset if she knows that she has «bugs in her hair.» Instead, stay calm and get your child’s head lice treated.
- Nits, or lice eggs, are much easier to find than live lice. They usually are found on individual hairs close to your child’s scalp. Unlike dandruff, which can look similar to nits, it should be hard to get a nit off of a hair, as they are almost glued onto the hairs.
- Be sure to do lice checks on everyone else in the house, especially if you find nits or live lice, and continue to check your child for live lice and new nits every few days.
- If you find nits more than 1 centimeter from your child’s scalp, then they are likely old and can’t hatch into new lice. This means that your child had lice at one point, but if you don’t see live lice or nits close to the scalp, then you don’t have an active lice problem.
- See your pediatrician if you aren’t sure if your child has live lice or nits, or if you think that you keep finding nits after repeated treatments. It can be very easy to confuse dandruff and hair casts with nits.
A Word From Verywell
Head lice can be found in every school or neighborhood. It can be distressing to find lice on your child’s head, but it’s best to respond to it calmly and begin treatment. Once treated, review with your child the things you can do to prevent head lice.
Head Lice Doctor Discussion Guide
Get our printable guide for your next doctor’s appointment to help you ask the right questions.
The Nice Lice Lady
Edmonton Family Head Lice Removal Services
Don’t believe the Nix package. The hair dryer is your friend.
After watching an interview on youtube with the owner of ‘Rapunzels lice boutique’ Ann Arbor MI,i wouldnt trust an ordinary hair dryer. Go to the professionals and use the ‘Lousebuster.
The Lousebuster is a fine product. However, it is not always readily available and the cost can be prohibitive for some (as can be the use of lice professionals in general, including me.)
I usually don’t like people putting their advertising on this blog, but Michigan is a long way from Edmonton, Alberta and even if it weren’t, there are enough lice to go around for everyone. At ‘Rapunzel’s Lice Boutique’, they offer one lice service for a flat fee of $145 per person. This cost can be too steep for some, especially if you have more than one family member dealing with head lice or if your head lice is not dealt with in that one visit.
The University of Utah developed the Lousebuster and then created their own company called Lareda Sciences. It is their study (the same study that showed the effectiveness of their product the Lousebuster), that demonstrated how a regular hair dryer, on high power, used in directed heating on sections of hair, had considerable effectiveness. In fact, in the study, it had the same effectiveness as the Lousebuster in the drying out of lice eggs.
The great thing about this is that you can get a hair dryer for under $15 and use it as many times as you like for every member of your family. It is just one of the effective and accessible techniques that can be used when fighting head lice.
One more thing. I get a bit frustrated when we lice professionals tell those in the general public that they need us. While our information can be very helpful, all of it is readily available on the internet (though not all sources have the most up-to-date information). And though our experienced eyes can quickly see a bug or an egg, I find that most mothers, after nit picking for an hour, quickly learn what they are looking for. One mom told me that she started checking for signs of lice on the heads of people who stood in line in front of her at the bank.
When we wear white coats and bring in specialized chemicals or tools, we give the impression that we have an expertise that is unavailable to the common family. But head lice are not a health issue and do not require medical services. They require patience, time, and effort. If you have the cash and don’t have the time, by all means, call a professional such as myself. Use us in the same way that you might use a house keeper. But if you do not, then get informed and get busy, because you, like generations of people before you, can beat this. If you have any questions, give me a call.
Many lice professionals offer to clean your home or launder items in the fight against head lice.
Please, please read the research. This simply isn’t necessary. Don’t panic about head lice as if it were a virus.
They may get you worked up about lice eggs that hatch off of the head.
Again, read the latest research. I’ve linked to various studies by leading researchers on this blog. These lice are not a threat. DO NOT waste your energy on anything off of the head. You have enough to deal with without having to waste money, time, and precious effort on excessive cleaning and washing.
Cathy, thank you so much for your comment about the blow dryer. I have been working for a lice removal company in Utah who have used the Lareda «Airalle,» as it is now called. A few months ago we gave it up because of the increased cost of using their machine. The blow dryer idea is awesome! You just changed our practice with your common sense. I will be discussing it with the owner tomorrow. I had read the study previously, but hadn’t put together the simple use of a blow dryer as getting 55% of bugs, plus 98% of the eggs. Awesome! Thanks again!
Hi- do you do the blow drying on dry or damp hair?
Thank uyou for this blog- you’ve halted my nervous breakdown.
You want to dry the nits and lice out so you blow dry hair that is already dry. Remember — don’t burn anyone. You want the highest speed but don’t need the highest heat.
Thank you for the blowdryer suggestion, I’ll definitely be using it. I’m so frustrated with nitpicking but I understand the need for it. My big issue is finding nymphs but not nits. How it that possible? The first time my girls had it, I found lots of nits but few live bugs. Granted I initially panicked and bought/used Quit Nits but this time I decided to forego the pesticide and just pick, pick, pick. I’m familiar with the nit but I’m only finding a few! Certainly not in the multitude I would expect considering the sheer amount of nymphs she started with. I’m going through her hair in 8 sections and by thin, thin lines with a super bright light and lice comb. Any thoughts?
I have literally had years and years of treating lice with 3 children (I even caught them I think it was my lowest moment) ,use conditioner and then a nit comb ,then use a hairdryer (which is so brilliant ) and then top it off with hair straightener which will pop any ones you have missed ,it is a fail safe and then hairdryer and straighten as a regular routine we are now clear !
We are battling lice with my two girls for the first time ever.. I have even purchased the robee comb.. amd we just always seem to be back to ground zero every couple of days.. I am going to try the blow dryer tomorrow amd comb through and see if we can get this once and for all! So frustrated!
Did three blowdryer work?
Did three blowdryer work?
I read that they found the blow drier worked, then months later returned to the article and it had been edited to say that the blow drier did not work. That they had to use a modified pet grooming drier. (Eye roll)
Funny, I’ve never seen that ever. The current website to the Air Alle, formerly the Lousebuster, still has links to the original research paper that demonstrated the effectiveness of the blow dryer. If you have any links to any new studies or articles, feel free to share them. Thanks!
I’m so glad to have found something informative in your site. Thanks for sharing.
My daughter was sent home with lice yesterday. I got the Nix treatment kit and was able to comb out 4 bugs. (the daycare center director told me that they didn’t find a lot on her, but another child was completely infested!) I called the local Lice Removal company this morning and they told me they could treat her head for $150! I was like are you serious? She explained the process saying «it was a medical device that blew hot air that dries out the lice & eggs.» I told her «basically you’re charging me $150 to blow dry my daughter’s hair.» She proceeded to tell me that the household hair dryer gets too hot and is not recommended. Ha! I am so glad I did some research online and came across your blog. I am definitely going to try my hair dryer now.
Do you think using a bonnet hairdryer attachment for the blow dryer would be effective?
I called the company to inquire about schools purchasing a LouseBuster but she said they will not sell it to schools, it has to be set up as a business. The price per treatment is excessive. I have four kids so it would be over $800 for my entire family to be treated. I am so glad to read this article. I think I may just upgrade to a more powerful hairdryer as mine is in need of replacing and do the comb outs every few days as a preventative measure. The treatment price is way too steep for the Lice Clinics.
Hi. I’m new to.this site but I’ve read some articles. I think I may possibly have head lice. my head has been itchy for months now and I have been freaked out. A week or so ago I went to a hotel and the day we were leaving I saw a huge lice bug. I freaked out but didn’t tell any one, it was the day we were leaving so I was glad to leave. Maybe two days later I told my mom and she said I had nothing but now today before I got a shower I found multiple bugs. I’m dont know what to do and I’m still young (11-15) what do you suggest I do?
Hi, thanks for this article on using a hair dryer for lice infestations. I have just started using a hair dryer on my two children (10yo and 4yo girls) after every bath/shower specifically for the purpose of staving off lice infestations.
We’ve been through a couple infestations now. The first time, we tried combatting it at home with Nix products and combing. It took forever and obviously wasn’t completely effective. The last infestation, we didn’t have the time or patience for weeks-long treatments and hours-long combing sessions (we were going on vacation to WDW the following weekend). Also, my older daughter broke down into a tearful depression when we confirmed she had lice again. She just remembered the hours of sitting still while mommy and daddy took turns combing (ripping, more like it) her hair out the last time. So, we decided to go to an AirAlle salon. It cost a total of $600 to treat three people (2 daughters and my wife; I lucked out and didn’t have lice. Yea, men’s short hair!). We were out of there lice-free after 3 hours. It was totally worth the cost that one time with the vacation deadline we were up against.
However, I cannot see us spending that much money EVERY time someone in our family brings home a louse on their head. Too costly for multiple or frequent treatments. So, I’m hoping the use of a handheld home hair dryer is effective enough to keep it under control.
I have a couple questions for you. 1). Will the consistent use of a hair dryer to dry hair after every bath/shower be enough to kill any current bugs and prevent future infestations? 2). Do you have to use the heat setting on the hair dryer or will the «cool» setting work just as well? You and/or your referenced material mentioned that it was the high volume of blowing air that was more important rather than the temperature of the air.
Currently, our girls only bathe/shower 3 times per week. We previously had only towel-dried their hair and let it air dry the rest of the way. The past two «bath nights», I have intentionally blow dried their hair with the hopes that it will help prevent any infestation. We got word over this past weekend that one of best friends’ kids had lice. While we didn’t find any on our daughters upon inspection, I’m hoping that using the hair dryer will help kill any lousy bugs that may have hitched a ride home. Do you think this will be an effective approach?
@Robb Walker I’m interested to see Cathy’s answers to your questions. I’m a mom in a similar situation to yours. I appreciate someone doing research to get more control of the situation, this is so tough.
I’ve been poking around on the internet after reading this article; and after reading articles and watching videos, I came up with the following information. 1) A machine that operates at 138 degrees (130 is kill temp) would be ideal for killing lice. 2) The air flow volume of an ideal machine would be 2x a regular hand held dryer. I’ve also seen pet grooming dryers on Amazon and other places that seem like they may have high volume air flow and temperatures that can be set to a specific temperature. One that I saw had kind of a diffuser attachment to it, but the end was bigger than the hose, which I didn’t think was ideal.
Any idea how to figure out what 2x the airflow of a regular hand held dryer would be? Shared info might really be able to help.
Would a bonnet hairdryer work?
In the University of Utah study, a bonnet hairdryer with two hoses (twice the power) was not as effective as a hand held dryer with air directed at the scalp one section at a time.
What I like about the use of a hand held hair dryer is that it is (a)easy to use, (b) very accessible, and (c) cost effective. The way that you use a blow dryer in the fight against head lice is different than the way you might use it daily. When I blow dry my hair after a shower, I’m just moving the blow dryer all over the place with my hair flying everywhere and usually I stop before my hair is even fully dry because I’m pretty impatient with my hair styling. Blow drying for head lice is different — with that, you blow dry on dry hair. You divide the hair into sections and must be very particular about directing the air on either side of the section of hair, right at the scalp, for at least 30 seconds each. The study did show that it was the highest speed of blowing air, not the highest temperature, that made the difference. As my post said, you don’t want anyone to get burned — you can still dry out the eggs with cool air. Personally, I don’t use blow drying as a preventative measure; I use it once head lice have been found. I prefer a quick, in the shower, weekly wet combing as a technique for detecting lice — if you are doing this with a good lice comb, you will never be surprised by an infestation of lice. You will always catch them before they will become a big problem again.
thank you Kathy. The $185 was all the money I’ve been able to save all year after tything and paying bills. I will try this now everyday for 13 days.
Hello unfortunately myself and my 2 month old daughter have lice been going threw her hair every 3 hours or so with a thin comb and getting everything out used this hair dryer trick on myself and it seriously works , any ideas of what I can do for my little one ?
Our strategy was: Start with dry hair, use hairdryer on hottest tolerable setting for 10 to 15 minutes while moving hair around and covering all areas. Do in the morning and night for a couple of days at least. No showers during this time. Based on the theory that each time you dry them out, you kill off a certain percentage of eggs and bugs, you can just keep at it as often and long as your kid can stand it. We did this for about 3 days and had no re-occurrence.
Has anyone tried following up with a straight iron?
We are in the middle of hell as I call it. three girls and myself and I combed combed combed and then did the hairdryer technique with a flat iron as well. I will try anything at this point. Still not seeing anymore evidence but we have so much hair in this house I don’t have my guard down for a second!
If you don’t see any more evidence, this is a good thing. You can trust this. I’m not saying you should put your guard down, but you can definitely breathe a little.
The flat iron is not effective as I’ve explained in my post. I would never take the risk of putting that amount of heat so close to the scalp – it is worse to have burns than it is to have head lice. A flat iron will miss any lice or nits that are right on or right next to the scalp. Any nits that are further down the hair shaft are either already hatched or not viable; so a flat iron won’t assist you there. Sorry. Keep up with the combing – not every day but every few days – until you have had 2 weeks with no new evidence of lice. And please do not do extra house cleaning. Just stick to the combing. With three girls, I would probably just set a routine where I do a wet combing for one child per day – let the girls each have a rest for a couple of days. Good luck!
The straight iron is not a tool for lice removal. Sorry. Please read my post «Flat iron? Bad idea.»
You can use any blow dryer that makes hot air. As a kid my mom always blow dried our hair and it was very affective. As a mom of 4 kids 3 of which are girls. I used a blow dryer daily on all of them n my 11yr old still daily. Also if anyone comes home with lice we oil our scalps with baby oil once every 2 weeks we use baby oil n wear a shower cap over night. Toss all pillows and stuffed animals in the dryer, wash bedding and vacuum your carpets. Fighting lice is hard when many parents don’t keep their kids lice free. So please help educate your neighbors if your kids come home with bugs
Cathy all your posts are so helpful specifically because this is your profession. My Pediatrician gave me a prescription for sklice. I used it and then combed her hair. I actually found a lot of more nits than I expected and one dead bug (I’m sure there were more but that’s the only one I saw). This is my first dealing with lice. My daughter is 5 and has very, very long beautiful curly hair that is difficult to manage. She’s Puerto Rican and black, I only use cleansing conditions to was her hair and nothing with sulfates. I wasn’t sure if washing her hair, or even just conditioning, her hair after the lice treatment would affect the treatment in any way. Still, there was no way for me to get a nit comb without some kind of moisturizer so I put olive oil in her hair to get the comb through. Was that ok? Can I was her hair? I’m also going to try blow drying her hair. I spent 6 hours yesterday between applying the product and combing her hair with many tears in between. I’m going to cut her hair, once this is over, to the middle of her back, which is about half her hair b/c I can’t deal this again. 🙁
I meant to say can I wash her hair and condition it? How many weeks should I keep checking for lice/nits. I have no one that can check me for lice but my daughter’s Pediatrician kindly checked me yesterday. I have no itchiness but find it strange I don’t have it. Will using a nit comb for myself suffice? I’m so scared I have it or will get it.
Some hair dryers such as the Revlon Healthy Hair Laser Brilliance Ceramic Ionic Infrared Heat Dryer,claim to have infrared and/or ionic features. Does anyone know if these have any impact on lice?
We have been dealing with head lice for literally years. We have family members that we dearly love that keep passing it back and forth with their other family members.
My husband and I found out that when we take olive leaf extract regularly we don’t get them. The only time I got them is when I wasn’t taking the olive leaf extract. The thought of them makes my head itch like crazy regardless!
I just bought the lice comb for a young family member, and will be buying a hair dryer today. Thanks!
My daughters and I were exposed to lice from a friend’s child when we were on a brief vacation. I saw a few eggs on them right away. I was incredulous of how fast the lice spread. I used tea tree oil, cider, vinegar, and rosemary oil mixed in conditioner on them at the hotel and hand picked out as many nits as I could. Luckily, we were in a hotel room, so when we got home I just laundered everything we had taken with us and didn’t have to worry about the house and stuffed toys, etc.
I blow dried my girls’ hair plus used a special hair dryer-round brush device that is meant for straitening hair and adding volume. It has plastic imitation boar bristle type bristles. I use it normally on myself to do a home blow out. I watched videos of the expensive lice specialist device. I sectioned their hair, blew it dry with a regular dryer, then rolled the dryer-brush thing over the scalp and through the hair. It tool a long time because there were so many sections. I’m hoping this worked. I guess I’ll have to keep checking them every few days for now. In the meanwhile, we all look like we got salon blow outs.
So my basic one temp $10 hair dryer should work. Maybe just blow dry everyone every other day. Thanks!
I would say use it. My husband thought I was blowing drying our kids hair during an out break of it. We couldn’t for the life of us figure out how in the heck are they still having them. He finally asked me if I bowed dried their hair & I told him no. He told me to start each night after they washed it. We finally have gotten rid of the little critters, and my blow dryer cost $10. Just make sure it is on high heat.
What about using those old dryers that ladies would sit under in salons? We have access to a working one. Would it be effective to sit my daughter under it for 20-30 minutes? would that be sufficient to dry them out?
Regarding those old dryers that ladies would sit under in salons, the study tested those as well only with TWO hoses attached to one bonnet:
•Air hoses from two bonnet-style hair dryers fed air into one bonnet. This method killed only 10 percent of hatched lice but 89 percent of eggs.» So, a hand-held dryer that is directed at the scalp is more effective.
Any ideas for getting rid of nits? My daughter has a serious infestation. Got rid of the bugs, but she had a head full of nits. I have bought every lice come the drug store had, and they don’t remove the nits from her hair. I know that the nits are probably dead and everyone says not to worry about it, but her school has a no-nit policy. She will not be allowed back to school until she has no nits. We’re talking thousands here. I have spent hours picking them out of her hair, but keep finding more. I have tried the conditioner and comb. Her hair just slides through the comb, but the nits are still on her hair.
Soak her hair in apple cider vinegar it dissolves the glue that hold the nits on and then comb through
Are you sure 30 seconds or so on each part of the hair is enough, because I do that directly almost every day. I just want to make sure I’m doing it in the right way. Should I direct it at each parting of the hair, or put it more under the hair, and how far away should it be? Also, a lot of people have been saying that they’re hair is wet when they hairdry, and for a lot of them it seemed to have worked. Is it ok if I shower before, or do you think it is necessary for it to be dry? Thanks
Cathy the nice lice lady, I love you. Thanks for your statement above!
It has been three years since the last time I had to deal with lice. I did the mayo with apple cider vinegar trick with my daughter seems to work she did not have any nits or lice in her hair. I am going to keep checking and repeat the process again next week. Question I have is my hair dryer does not have a high or low air button just a low medium and high with the heat. It reaches around 200°F on high is it enough to dry out any nits that were left? I unfortunately caught it and it is hard to know if I got everything on my own head. I hated the combing process because it was as if I was just ripping my hair out. Also do the nits fall off or will I need to continue the combing process?
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