Lice on the Road: Beating Lice in 12 Easy Steps

Horror of horrors, you or a loved one picked up lice. Scream! What to do? This article is based on personal experience and lots of desperation-fueled internet research after I picked up lice traveling.

1: Do You Really Have Lice?

If you manage to find a louse, it may be in any of these stages. (Pic from here).

If you manage to find a louse, it may be in any of these stages. photo: school district

You’re probably still hoping that the answer is no. But if your head is really itchy, and you’ve found a small bug, it’s almost definitely lice. Everyone compares a louse to a sesame seed. As a woman who consumes sesame seeds by the spoonful, I feel this is inaccurate. An adult louse is slightly wider than a sesame seed and almost twice as long.

2: Don’t Panic

You’re fine. Are you in a hospital with dengue fever, malaria, japanese encephalitis, or yellow fever? No. Will this malady cost you hundreds or thousands in medical bills? No. Will bugs be crawling all over your body? No. Will people know you have lice and therefore treat you like a leper? No. Are you going to give lice to your traveling companions? No. Chill out. You can nip this whole thing in the bud starting right now.

3: Don’t Gross Yourself Out

Lice don’t want to leave your head anymore than a fish wants to leave it’s home.

Lice like living on your warm scalp. Otherwise they are like a fish out of water.   You are not a walking corpse. You’re not going to wake up to find yourself covered in bugs. They aren’t going anywhere besides your head (or the person whose head you touch with your own). Unlike many sites will tell you, you do not need to wash everything you own in scalding hot water, vacuum obsessively, or sequester things in plastic bags. Lice don’t live on your clothes, furniture, or sheets. They live on your head. Unless the sheets at your hotel aren’t plain colored, you will be able to see a louse that crawled off your hair and has been hanging out on the bed waiting for your return. Changing your sheets every night just creates more laundry. If you’re really paranoid, change your pillow case. I didn’t wash or change anything and slept in the same hotel room the first three days of my lice discovery and lice war (and then continuously in a new hotel room for five days).

4: Get Ready for a Waiting Game

Basically, you are going to kill all the lice with the ability to move (adults and juveniles). There are lots of ways to do this. Then you are going to wait about eight days during which the eggs/nits will be hatching but not yet mature enough to lay eggs. (Be sure to corroborate this suggestion with your own research.) Throughout the eight days, there are proactive things you should do. After eight days, you are going to kill all the lice with the ability to move again. Assuming you get them all, you’re done! Lice free!

5: Decide How You Want to Kill Your Lice

There are a multitude of methods. People will tell you to use mayonnaise, conditioner, pesticide shampoo, salt-based  treatment, olive oil, etc. Do your research and choose what’s best for you. Many people feel it’s freaky to put carcinogenic (cancer causing) chemicals on their body. When it came to killing lice, my reservations weren’t enough to keep me away from the pesticide shampoo.  With kids, the salt-based treatment seems to be the best balance of effective and safe.

6: Kill the Lice

Kill the lice! Kill them all!

The concept with mayonnaise/ conditioner/oil is that it smothers the lice. Some argue that they die from lack of oxygen if the substance is left on overnight. Others say the slippery stuff “stuns” them for about 20 minutes, giving you time to comb the bugs out. The salt treatment purportedly dries out both the bugs and their eggs. With a pesticide shampoo, you apply it to the hair and let it sit for 15 minutes as the nasty Little Insects Crawling Everywhere die slow and painful deaths. Then you rinse it and out come all the dead little bugs. Ick. I was told not to wash my hair again (definitely not with the pesticide, and not even with regular shampoo) for two days. I immediately put conditioner in my hair to aid in combing through with a fine-toothed comb. (Would a sesame seed, which is slightly smaller than an adult louse, fit through the teeth? No? Then the comb is fine-toothed enough. The finer, the better.   Obviously a comb made for the purpose is best, but if it’s the middle of the night like it was for me, whatever you’ve got handy might do the job well enough to get all the mature adults – that’s the real concern.   You’ve got to make sure you’ve rid yourself at least of all the egg-layers, if not all the crawlers.) As I combed my conditioned hair right after the pesticide shampoo, more dead lice came out with each pass.

7: Count the Days

If you go the pesticide route, after waiting two days, you can do the whole conditioner 1or mayonnaise/olive oil if you want the double power of slipperyness and believe what some believe about olive oil and mayonnaise – that it stuns any lice that might be hanging around and combing thing. You could repeat every day if you’re paranoid. I only did it every two days. Theoretically, you could eventually get rid of the lice by combing out the immature hatched bugs every two days for a month. In the end, you’d be left with a bunch of practically invisible empty egg shells and no more lice. But having someone to nit-pick is good insurance.

8: (Optional) Find a Nit-Picker

Good approximation of how an egg shell/sack is affixed to the hair.

Ideally, you’ll have a friend handy whom you don’t mind asking to “nit-pick” your head every day. Lice eggs are called nits. They are practically superglued to the hair shaft about a quarter-inch to an inch from the head where it’s nice and warm. In a perfect world, this person, after you kill your adult lice the first time, will be able to go through and pluck out hundreds of nits. They aren’t easy to spot. If your buddy isn’t experienced, tell them the nits are shinier than hair and will catch and reflect the light more brightly. They are supposed to be concentrated around the ears and neck, but mine were everywhere and loved the crown of my head. Once your nit picker has spotted one, they need to pinch the nit and slide it all the way down and off the hair shaft. It is my understanding nits are not guaranteed to be removed with a comb (so why is it called a nit comb?). Your job is to kill the egg by smashing it between two hard surfaces. The back of your fingernails work great. Or two coins if you’re horrified by the idea and really want to get fiddly.   I read that the eggs can actually live longer off the body (several days) than the adults (12 to 48 hours, depending on the environment) — so SMASH it! If it doesn’t “pop,” it was an empty egg shell. If it does, congrats! One less louse to battle!  Traveling and don’t have someone to nit-pick? Ask at a hair salon if they’ll do it for you. Don’t be embarrassed. Especially  in developing countries, people don’t freak out about bugs the way first-worlders do. And they know that lice is not leprosy. No one is going to get lice from nit picking for you.

9: Kill Your Lice! Again!

If you went the pesticide route, it’s time for another application. Decide after you research which day you think it is that lice mature and begin laying eggs. My research said it takes an egg seven days to hatch, and three more to start laying. So on the 8th day, after even the youngest eggs would have hatched since my original treatment (and hopefully the lice that reached maturity before then got combed out in my conditioner routine), I applied the pesticide again.

10: (Optional) Find A Nit Picker

I didn’t have anyone handy and was relatively confident at this point the the lice were gone. But if I’d had a buddy I would have begged them to check me over just in case.

11: Follow-Up Combing

For the next two weeks, I continued plugging my hair full of conditioner and combing it thoroughly every two days. I never found another louse, but it was great peace of mind.

12: Don’t Get Lice Again!

Happy to have this long hair lice free!

It’s pretty easy not to get lice. A friend of mine was a principal in an impoverished school-district for over a decade where 30% of the kids had lice all the time. She never got lice. I worked one-on-one with a little girl who had lice for six months. We went to the movies together, sat in a car together, went out to eat together, shared hugs, walked together — and I never got lice. People with hair less than an inch long usually do not get lice because the environment on their scalp isn’t warm enough for the creepy crawlies. Long haired folks are more susceptible to lice as there is a greater surface area for them to grab onto with their superhero little legs. In situations where you can easily pick up lice (overnight bus rides, playing or working with children, etc), tie up your hair. (And while you have lice, as a courtesy to others, you should tie up your hair around them.)

That’s it! Hope yours is a twelve-step miracle! If you’ve got a lice experience or lice advice, please share it in the comments. ♣

Getting lice wasn’t the only travel misadventure I experienced.  Here are a few more:

In fact, there’s an  entire page of travel mishaps!


1 or mayonnaise/olive oil if you want the double power of slipperyness and believe what some believe about olive oil and mayonnaise – that it stuns any lice that might be hanging around


  • August 31, 2019 at 6:03 am

    When i was a kid the onky thing that ever ever worked and let me tell u ive tried all that stuff /\
    Blow drying for 20 minutes 2 times a day. You will literally see them JUMPING OUT and straightening now days. But then just showering blow dryjng for 10 total days. 2 times 20 m iij mutes first few days than knce a day the heat kills the eggs and the bugs !

  • August 2, 2019 at 3:01 am

    Last month i found lice and was able to get rid of it within a week and half. I told my boyfriend and he said he didn’t have it. I just found out two days ago i had it again. I knew i got rid of it too. I stayed only at his house the past month. I’m starting to think i’m getting it from him, but one time i was doing his hair and i found a lot of dandruff only. (no nits or lice) Luckily, i caught it in the early stage so i killed all lice and have been combing my hair everyday. Should i tell my boyfriend to check his hair or no?

    • August 2, 2019 at 7:10 pm

      If you think the source might be a certain person, I would make sure. Good luck!

  • September 19, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    Hey i wanted to ask which treatment to remove lice you suggest?
    And i have had lice since a long time and i think that its gone but I’m not sure.. what do i do?
    And i haven’t been scratching since a long time and i don’t have lice mostly but my mother checked and she says that i have nits. Do the nits stay even when the lice is not there?

    • September 20, 2018 at 11:09 pm

      Hi Saanya – it’s really up to you which treatment to use. I went with the harsh pesticide, and would probably do it again. The shell of the egg does stay attached to your hair shaft after it hatches. So your mother could be seeing empty shell sacks. Have her slide them down off your hair shaft and then press it between two hard surfaces. If it pops, it’s a live nit. If nothing happens, it’s just an empty sack. Hope that helps! Good luck!

  • August 19, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Alright so I was visiting the west coast and stayed in cabins, house boats, etc. My head was super itchy the whole time. The plane ride home I was scratching my head and found two little bugs. Obviously I started freaking out. I showered when I got home and my head was still itchy but I didn’t see any bugs. 3 days later I saw another one and told my mum. Super embarrassing. We later found out my sister had them. My dad bought the killing shampoo thing and we combed through my hair. That was last night. Today my head doesn’t itch at all but I plan to do a coconut oil & lavender mask on my hair tonight??? And just keep brushing it. I also used the prevention shampoo bc why not. School starts for me in 5 days… is it possible for them to be gone by then? Will people see them in my hair?

    • August 23, 2018 at 1:10 pm

      People shouldn’t see the bugs in your hair. They are hard to see, even when you’re looking for them. It’s great that you’re regularly combing your hair. At this point, you’ve killed all the adult lice and the nits are probably hatching. (I’ve been told, despite being called a “nit comb,” the only way to truly get nits off is to pick them off the hair shaft one at a time.) You just need to kill the next round of lice AFTER they all finish hatching but BEFORE they get old enough to start laying their own nits.

      The kind thing to do for your school mates, just in case, is to be sure to keep your hair tied up. Good luck!

    • April 9, 2021 at 2:53 am

      I doubt people will see them in your hair. This is the second time I’ve had them in the last 5 years and no one has really noticed outside of family.

  • September 9, 2017 at 8:14 am

    Head lice is in mycouch and my floor and my rug how can I get rid of them which they won’t go away.wash my clothes and bedding I can’t get rid of the and my rug and floor they are

    • March 10, 2018 at 6:51 pm

      Are you sure it’s lice and not something else? Lice don’t survive off the head for more than 48 hours. So if it’s been more than 2 days and your still seeing bugs in your carpet and couch I’m pretty sure it’s not lice.

      • February 21, 2021 at 12:11 am

        I am not really replying to anyone. I have a comment though.
        I read somewhere allergic to the bites and I am allergic to mosquito bites.
        So I take an allergy medicine (Benadryl) to make the itch go away in between because it drives me crazy. And it stops the itch.

        I do believe I have had lice for about 3 weeks now I have tried nix three times and the mouse tea tree oil and etc. I am going to do the dryer in a minute. anyway to make a long story short. I can not get rid of it. Long thick hair.

    • April 5, 2018 at 5:39 am

      Sounds like bed bugs nor lice.

    • April 16, 2018 at 3:37 am

      Well you need to get lice spray for furniture wash sheets very well vaccum once or twice for the rug and check yourself or get a professional

    • October 3, 2018 at 4:59 pm

      Food grade, Diatomaceous earth. Pure magic.

  • September 8, 2017 at 7:34 am

    Using Olive Oil (very thick coat) overnight. Conditioner in the morning followed by comb-through #1. THAT is followed with a normal shampoo with Denorex and I leave that in for 15 minutes. Comb through #2. Rinse Denorex out after using it as a normal shampoo followed by another comb-through. Then I go about my day. At night repeat…..
    Two months later: Still got ’em.
    Going to a dermatologist in the next few days.

    • September 9, 2017 at 5:40 am

      Hi Bill – what a bummer that the oil and dandruff shampoo aren’t working for you. Out of curiosity, what is the Denorex supposed to do to help get rid of lice? I understand why olive oil, but why Denorex?

  • July 12, 2017 at 10:02 am

    I’m 13 and found out I have lice. I don’t know what to do exactly neither my mom. I am worried and think they will be there forever. It’s night time and I don’t want to sleep I feel them crawling. I’m so scared what do I do exactly??? I think I got them yesterday or three days ago.

    • July 12, 2017 at 3:51 pm

      Hi Ariana,

      I’m sorry you’re going through this. I know it’s stressful and a little scary, but you won’t have lice forever!

      You have to get the live lice out of your hair. There are lots of ways to do this from poison shampoo to a salt treatment to putting something slippery like mayonnaise or conditioner in your hair so they can’t hold on while you comb them out with a nit comb.

      After you get the live lice out, you can pick out all their eggs before they hatch. If you don’t, in a few days, there will be new baby lice. You have to get the new baby lice out before they get old enough to lay their own eggs. Otherwise the cycle starts all over again.

      You can do it! Good luck!

    • January 5, 2019 at 2:58 am

      Last time I had lice, my mom straightenedy hair, it’s really curly and the heat of the iron killed most of the bugs, the we used the nit picker and oil before all that, I was relieved after all the itching.

  • May 27, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Oh god I’m in Cambodia with my dready boyfriend and the salon workers won’t mess with his hair. We’re doing mayo treatment tonight and then more not picking. Your article comforted me as I feel I am at my wits end with the itchyness.

    • May 27, 2017 at 8:56 pm

      Good luck! You’ll get there for sure!

    • July 8, 2017 at 9:07 pm

      To catch live in the lifecycle you need to comb every second day for 21 days with not comb /oil

      You must put all linen in dryer for half hour as only the hot dry heat kills them

      Don’t use conditioner after a chemical treatment

    • August 30, 2017 at 4:06 am

      Lice free is the best! Love, from Eugene, Oregon

    • September 5, 2018 at 2:27 am

      Yeah Claire thank you for saying that! Jema, I feel like a human again lol and don’t feel like I need to stay away from everyone in fear of lice jumping on them, I’m so relieved you covered every inch of what I was feeling and made it all go away, thank you! Now I’ma make these bugs go away with some mayo tonight and get the good stuff in the morn, I’m so thankful I can sleep tonight, your a life saver jema!

  • May 23, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Very good article and helpful. But — washing sheets or at least a pillow case IS a must!! Nits can fall out from the friction between your head and the pillow easy.

    • May 23, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      I certainly would have washed my sheets if I could have. Interesting to consider that the friction between head and pillow may be enough to pull out nits. I’d always heard and experienced that they are incredibly difficult to remove and take precision attention. Guess anything is possible?!

  • April 3, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    I treated my hair with a over the counter chemical treatment after finding 2 lice in my hair. I then combed using a nit comb and got only a handful of nits. I also then applied lots of coconut oil and wrapped my hair up. The next day I used the nit comb again and found about 20 nits and one live louse. Since the louse was still alive should I do a second chemical treatment sooner than 8 days from the original treatment?

    • April 3, 2017 at 7:03 pm

      Hi Lauren – it sounds like maybe the chemical treatment didn’t work for you? Surprising that you found a live louse the next day, but perhaps it hatched overnight? I’ve been told the nit comb is no guarantee for pulling the nits off your hair shaft. So perhaps what happened is you had one hatch the day after treatment? In which case, you should be fine to wait while it’s still in the juvenile stage. I’m not a medical professional, though… just guessing and thinking about what I might do in your situation! Good luck!

  • February 13, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Rubbing alcohol and a plastic bag tied over the head (shower cap) for 30 min kills alive ones. Just be careful to not get in the eyes, a lite coat of scalp is sufficient.

    • June 21, 2017 at 2:15 am

      I tried alcohol and it didn’t work for my child. They where still well and alive. I finally called the dr to have a prescription called in that worked.

  • December 16, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    I found out my five year old daughter has lice, I’ve been doing my research on how I can get rid of them. I don’t know what to do exactly. It’s my first kid so this is the first time me and her are going through this. I don’t have a nit comb at the moment so I need any tips or trick to get the nits and lice out asap

    • December 19, 2016 at 1:52 am

      Hi Leslie – get the smallest toothed comb you have, put conditioner in your daughters hair, and comb it through. They say the conditioner “stuns” the lice and give you a chance at combing them out. However, I don’t know that it’s possible to get rid of lice without some kind of treatment that kills the adults so they stop laying nits. Even if you nit pick, if adults are in the hair (hard to see – they move really fast), they will just lay more eggs which will hatch and grow into adults that lay more eggs. You have to find a way to stop the cycle.

      Good luck!

  • December 1, 2016 at 12:43 am

    Okay, so I got lice from my friends fourth grade sister. I’ve never had them before so this is a first. We treated my head three days ago and have not combed it every day for the past three days. However my step mom is insistent that I sleep on the floor for the next to weeks to “prevent” the lice from coming back. I’m not allowed on any of the furniture and I am allowed two blankets and a pillow to sleep on. I was wondering if this was necessary? I have never heard of any ones parent making them sleep on the floor. She got this idea from my aunt who has five kids but it’s frusterating for me because I have back problems and I feel like a dog that is being punished for something I’m in no control of.

    • December 5, 2016 at 3:11 am

      Hi Payton – that’s a real bummer. No, there really is no need for you to be sleeping on the floor. Lice have a favorite home, and it’s the human scalp. They really can’t survive long off the head, and being on the floor or the bed makes no difference to their survival. They aren’t like bedbugs, which can survive for years and thrive in mattresses. I’m sorry your step mom is insisting you stay on the floor – especially for weeks. It’s completely unnecessary. 🙁 I’m sorry you’re suffering because of someone else’s fear.

      Good luck – you’ll get there!

      • February 25, 2017 at 11:27 pm

        this actually makes me feel really sad but I am same way with my daughter and I know she probably feels the same as Peyton this has opened up my eyes a little bit but I have a condition called ocD and we recently have just read the house if we actually got rid of them of bed bugs now it’s lice I’m freaking out what I don’t let my daughter even go to a friend’s house or to even other friend’s house families anybody she stays home I keep her there all the time except for school which is the worst place I’m sure she is getting them from but I do not want to catch them I just cannot afford all of this constantly and with the wide epidemic of bugs growing and our country just crazy oh say I have a big fear of the bugs and I cannot even correctly go through my daughter’s hair and nobody will help me mentally I cannot do this and it is to T tedious time consuming for me to completely go through it but what’s the big deal if they are all dead won’t they just fall out or can’t I just brush them out everyday I don’t know what else to do to rid of them things I cannot see I cannot get rid of ever any advice

        • March 2, 2017 at 3:08 pm

          Sorry you’re struggling, Emily! Getting rid of lice can be emotionally exhausting. But don’t worry – there will come a day when your daughter is lice free. Where I first got lice – mountain province in the Philippines – it’s just considered a fact of life and no one makes a big deal about it. At any given time at least one child in every family has it. If you follow the protocol and have your daughter keep her hair tied up, you should be fine. As I think I mention above, a friend of mine was principal in a school district where 25-50% of the kids had lice at all times. She still gave the kids hugs, etc. and she never got lice. I spent lots of time 1:1 with a little girl who had lice, hugs and all, and I never got them either. Your daughter will be able to play with her friends and stay lice free if her hair is tied up. Good luck!

          • August 18, 2018 at 1:19 pm

            I’m curious as to how you and your friend avoided getting live from the kids? Can you elaborate, please? Thanks!

            • August 23, 2018 at 1:12 pm

              Hi Beth, in hindsight, I actually could have done more. I minimized contact, but I still hugged the little girl I volunteered with. We rode together in the car (she in my car). I tried to generally keep my head away from her head, but that’s it. I should have been tying my hair up, but didn’t.

              My other friend – the principal – has short hair and probably hugged children while standing. So her head wouldn’t have been close to their heads.

  • November 19, 2016 at 1:02 am

    Hi i’m 13 and I have lice! now usually i would tell my parents but this is like the third time iv’e gotten it! plus we got rid of them not to long ago but honestly i don’t think they ever went away. I’m scared to tell my parents because they just seem to get really upset each time they come back. Also I was at a friends house for a sleepover like last week and if I tell my parents I’ll never be able to go anywhere ever again! I have a tiny bit of nit killing shampoo left and a nit comb. Do you think within time of treatment that they will go away without me having to tell my parents? I’m freaking out and the lice seem to never go away!

    • November 20, 2016 at 5:30 pm

      Hi Juliana,

      What a bummer! Lice are really hard, especially if you’re regularly exposed to the possibility of getting more. I’m sorry that both you and your parents are freaking out. It’s scary to have to deal with something in your life when you feel like you have no control. Your nit comb might help, but I’m fairly certain you’ll need two rounds of shampoo to effectively kill the lice: one today, and then another in about 8 days (sooner and some nits may still be unhatched, later and they’ll be old enough start laying more eggs).

      If you think they never went away, maybe you could talk to them about the schedule that you have to follow to get rid of them. If you feel comfortable showing them this page, it might help. If you want me to delete your comment before showing them, just let me know.

      You’ll get rid of them eventually!

      • August 2, 2017 at 5:21 pm

        I’m going into 7th grade and I’ve had lice for about 12 days. Today my mom and I did the second treatment (7 days after first one) and we only found 1 baby lice during pesticide shampooing. We combed through my hair with a nit comb, but couldn’t find anything. Afterwards, I took a shower (the product told us to) and it really itched where the lice had been. It doesn’t itch as much as it did in the shower, but I’m worried. We did this in bright lighting, so I’m worried that the lice hid and are still there. Is there anything else I can do? Can I use the treatment again tomorrow, or is that a bad idea? Thanks so much! Your post really helped my calm down, but I really need more advice!

        • August 2, 2017 at 6:38 pm

          Hi Sydney – what a bummer! I know having lice is annoying and can feel icky. It sounds like you’ve killed all your live lice twice on the right schedule. The shower and post-shower itching could just be from the chemicals. (Do you have sensitive skin? Do lotions or soaps ever make you itch?)

          It is possible for lice to hide or run so fast as you move hair around that you don’t see them. However, if you’ve done pesticide shampoo twice you should be fine. You definitely shouldn’t do the treatment again. It’s really intense chemicals, and it wouldn’t make any difference. The best thing you can do for peace of mind is to keep looking for nits on the base of your hair shafts. You don’t need to do this, but if you want some assurance this is what I’d recommend!

          Good luck!

    • November 30, 2018 at 12:51 am

      I know this post is old. I found using a heat protector and iron straightening comb works. Get close to the scalp when combing. Also mixing warm lemon juice and olive oil, applying on the scalp let it sit, than comb the hair. Naughty nits or an professional lice specialist can help.

      • November 30, 2018 at 6:19 am

        Thanks for sharing, Donna! This page is old, but it still gets thousands of visitors. It’s great to keep new perspectives and experiences coming in to help everyone in this situation!

  • November 10, 2016 at 2:38 am

    I found out today at a haircut appt that I have nits but no alive lice were found. Once I got home I asked my mother if she could look to see what she finds, she found the “nits” but no alive lice. She says it might be from some natural masks she’s been putting in my hair out of banana, mayonnaise, rosemary, olive oil, and coconut oil. I’ve never had lice in my life (I’m 29 years old) I bought a non chemical treatment for my hair and I will leave it over night. I have no symptoms of lice so I’m still puzzled and confused if I even really have lice. Is there anyway for me to really find out?? And is there something that for sure works it’s driving me crazy.

    • November 12, 2016 at 3:03 am

      Hi Andrea – sorry you’re going through this! Did you have lice before your hair appointment, got rid of it, but they said you still have nits?

      If so, your nits can hatch into lice depending on the treatment you used. Supposedly salt treatment dries out the nits so they don’t hatch and become lice. But other treatments like coconut oil and other slippery substances are said to “stun” lice so you can comb them out without them running away. This doesn’t take care of the nits (eggs) waiting to hatch, though.

      The other option is that the nits on your hair are empty sacs from previously hatched and killed lice.

      I know it’s all so confusing. Good luck to you!

    • May 4, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      Check if they are close to your scalp. If they are, good luck. If they are about 1/4 of an inch away or more, then you are all clear and you should not be worried. This means that they are from when you had it before, maybe when you where a baby. Don’t worry if it is like this.

      • May 5, 2017 at 2:50 am

        I’d never heard before that nit (egg) sacks can stick around from babyhood, but interesting to consider!

    • February 21, 2021 at 12:12 am

      I am not really replying to anyone. I have a comment though.
      I read somewhere allergic to the bites and I am allergic to mosquito bites.
      So I take an allergy medicine (Benadryl) to make the itch go away in between because it drives me crazy. And it stops the itch.

      I do believe I have had lice for about 3 weeks now I have tried nix three times and the mouse tea tree oil and etc. I am going to do the dryer in a minute. anyway to make a long story short. I can not get rid of it. Long thick hair.

  • November 2, 2016 at 6:46 am

    So my 3 year old daughter has been fighting these little creatures for about 2 months !!! We just cant get rid of it!! Now I felt itchy and found out I have them too! Help!!! Ive tried over the counter for her and nothing. And for me ive just been combing my hair non stop! But nothing is helping!

    • November 3, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      Oh, Betty! How disappointing. It sounds like there must be an external source. If you’re following all the protocol and combing (and nit picking?) and you still have it, I’ll bet she’s bringing it home from friends?

      The best I can say is to follow all the steps religiously, and make sure she has her hair tied up and/or wears a hat when she plays with other kids.

      Good luck to you!

  • October 20, 2016 at 2:22 am

    my 14 yr old girl has been itching for a couple of weeks so I had her checked at the health dept. ( so as not to have fingers pointed at her in school) the middle aged nurse checked her and didn’t find anything. the next night after her shower, a few hairs were dangling in front of her with a louse on one of them! then I found one on her towel. I checked her and pulled a few nits from her hair. I itch a little too. tomorrow I’m getting Rid shampoo and spray. I’m washing the bedding, coats that we have used recently, the bathroom rugs, and spraying areas where she is at most. then, I’m treating us again in 8 days and then maybe in another 8 days as well. also, washing bedding too, agains

  • September 21, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    Hi. I have had lice seven times and maybe an eighth time soon. What I do to get rid of them is:
    1. Do the treatment as much as needed.
    2.bag up any stuffed animals for a precaution
    3. Wash all blankets, pillows, pillow cases
    4. I use a very comfy blanket as a pillow (not mandatory)
    5. Stay calm. Find someone to nitpick.
    6. Prevent it from happening again. Lice love my head but I haven’t had it in 2 years. Be careful. If lice outbreaks are happening at school/work wear a bandanna or a hat.
    Lice can still go on stuffed animals. It has happened to me before.

  • August 6, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    I’ve been battling with lice for weeks!! It started out with my 6 year old, she had the most and then my 4 year old got it. I used the spray thats called lice free spray where u can just spray and let it air dry but they seem to keep coming back! I constantly check their hair but as i was looking through her dry hair i thought for sure they were gone and then i took her a bath and as i was drying her off i noticed about 8 lice baby and grown on the very top of her head!! Why is that i couldn’t see them until her head was wet?? I’m so tired of dealing with these annoying bugs and i even found one and a couple of nits in my hair! What should i do?

    • August 6, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      Hi Sara – what a bummer. Sorry you are dealing with this. I think you probably do at least need to combine combing with your spray. When I used the pesticide shampoo on my hair and then combed it, tons and tons of bugs came out. Maybe after the spray you’re using air-dries, you should try combing the kids’ hair? I’m assuming it’s supposed to kill or stun the lice? Sorry I can’t be of more help!

    • August 25, 2016 at 7:42 am

      Hope this info might help you all. I found a couple of websites that really helped. One is The Lice Program and The Nice Lice Lady Blog. You need to get a very good stainless steel comb. I bought the NitFree comb with twists in the metal prongs. This comb will pull out even the tiniest nit, I bought it from Ebay for a couple of dollars and it works. Unfortunately, you’ve just got to keep up the combing again and again and again.I know it’s a pain in the proverbial, you’ve just got to keep combing. I do it every day, and I have read that when you are very infested, combing three times a day for at least 20minutes, with a metal comb, will eventually whittle down the egg colony. There seems to be no quick or easy way of dealing with them, but vigilant and diligent combing is the key. Hope this helps, I know, sore scalps and sore arms. You’ll get clear in the end.

    • December 8, 2016 at 3:29 am

      Hi Sara,

      The reason you see them when her hair is wet is because water slows them down. They also don’t like bright lights, so they normally hide. And please treat yourself as soon as possible!!! It’s much easier if you catch them early, because then there’s less time for them to lay eggs (aka nits)

  • July 8, 2016 at 11:27 am

    Hi, i have been trying to get rid of my head lice since around March when I realized I had them. My friend Ashley had lice so her mom called mine and my dad didn’t know how to get rid of them properly or even know how to look for signs i had them and my mom is going blind. I had to try and get rid of them on my own. Obviously it didn’t work because after multiple times treating it myself. They still aren’t gone. I keep waking up after finding out again that I have lice way too early in the night and can’t fall back asleep because I’m so grossed out and paranoid, my parents probably can’t do anything, and i dont have anyone else to go to for this.

    • July 8, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      Hey Arienne – that’s such a bummer. Can you get a calendar and mark down the treatment windows? It seems if you apply a treatment every 8 days for a little over three weeks (now, 8 days from now, 8 days from that) you should be able to get rid of the lice.

      Do you have a nit comb? Do you have access to any over-the-counter treatments?

      • July 9, 2016 at 3:54 pm

        I do have a comb and access to over the counter products. And i can most definitely try to do it within that time period and mark down the days. Thanks for the help and I’ll check back in when finish. Usually I had did it every two weeks or so, but I can see why that was probably a problem. Thank you.

        • July 9, 2016 at 7:09 pm

          Awesome! Fingers crossed that the new timeline works for you.

    • July 15, 2016 at 6:07 am

      I’m not sure if your financial situation but in some cities they have those lice ridding centers where you can Payne for them to get rid of them. this usually costs $75-$200 depending on where you go. Lice sucks hope it all goes well, I just found out I have lice tonight/:

      • July 15, 2016 at 2:37 pm

        Thanks for letting us know, Katie. And good luck getting rid of your lice!

        • April 15, 2018 at 7:28 am

          Jema.. My step daughter came in my home and didn’t tell me she has lice. I treated her combed out nuts and will retreat in 8 days… But 4 days later I find I think is an adult louse …I pulled it out of my head…and squashed on it..or looks dark ..and had blood on it.. But I don’t see any nits… I taped it to,a white piece of paper and and I don’t know what to do I’d it is one..cuz it’s kinda smushed… Lice is my demon

          • April 17, 2018 at 12:31 am

            Ugh. Gosh – sorry this is happening to you! Lice is not fun! The only thing I can say is… if you managed to get a hold of this thing in your hair with your fingers… it reduces the chance that it was a louse. They are super fast, run away really quickly, and would be hard to pluck out with your fingers. Good luck!

  • June 18, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    Thanks. Your way of writing is just the way I talk. Thanks so much!

  • June 16, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    I’m in 7th grade and I honestly can’t tell for sure if I have lice or if it was just a different bug in my hair. I have only den one and it was on my hairline. I told my mom and she is just sort of denying it and saying she doubts I have it but I think I might. When I run my fingers over my head I feel no bumps or anything but my head is fairly itchy. I just pray I don’t have lice. I just don’t for sure know how to tell 🙁

    • June 16, 2016 at 7:55 pm

      Hi Megan – someone you trust needs to look for nits (the egg sac) on your hair shaft near your scalp. Lice are really fast, so there’s a good chance you won’t see them. Read #8 again in the article so you can tell them what to look for.

      I hope you don’t have it either!

  • May 26, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    Hey Jema,
    It’s Abbie again. Even though I have tons more questions to ask, I have one I really need answered. Do I really have lice or am I delusional? I know I’ve seen it three times, but I’m not 100% sure yet. After those three times I haven’t seen anything. I’ve self examined myself to the best of my ability and found nothing after the last experience with it. What were your symptoms before you found out you got them? What was your reaction?

    In the end, I just don’t know how to break the news to my mom.

  • May 20, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    I am 38 years old dealing with head lice, why me. I wore mineral oil and vinegar on my hair for 24 hr’s, then combed my hair with a flea comb. I combed out dead adult, and baby lice, thought I got everything, nope, my friend checked my head, I have tons of eggs, and she even found a live bug. Heres my ?, can she pop them on my head, so there dead, then wait for the glue to come off? Will I unleash new bugs on my head? Of course after doing this I comb them out the best I can. There are two many of them to nit pick !!!!!

    • May 21, 2016 at 1:11 am

      Hi Amber – I’m far from a lice expert, but it seems to me that technically you could get rid of lice without nit picking. Once the current nits hatch, it seems you’d just have to kill the lice before they get to adult stage and lay more eggs. I’m not sure if your friend can pop them on your head or not. They’re so tiny and so close to the scalp, I think it would actually take more time to try and pop them in-situ than to pull them off and pop them.

      Hope that helps!

  • May 16, 2016 at 5:30 am

    i have had the lice for the past 3 months (crazy i know) but i have tried the treatments A LOT. i am in the 7th grade and 100% aware of the whole no using personal items and stuff like that but i would just miraculously get the lice back. and i feel its getting worse cause the other day i was taking a test havent felt and itch in a few weeks. so i scratched one part and a bug fell on my desk. i didnt panic just squashed it with my pencil but i REALLY wanna know if theres anymore tips cause it gets worse… MY HAIR IS EXTREMELY CURLY!!!!!!!!!

    • May 16, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      Hi Helena,

      I hope you get rid of them soon! Do you have a nit picker? Have you done all the treatments on the right time schedule? Does anyone else in your home have lice? Are you wearing your hair up at all times?

      Good luck!

    • May 26, 2016 at 2:28 am

      Oh my gosh Helena! You’re in 7th grade too! That’s coincidental because the same thing is happening to me. Here’s my story: So the first time I had suspicions about life was about two months ago. I was sitting on the floor charging my phone cause it was dead. I started to run my fingers through my hair and I felt a little bump, so I started to pick at it. It hurt every time I did but I managed to get it off. When I got it off I examined it but not too well because it either fell off my finger or jumped off and I was scared as HECK!! I jumped up and thank goodness my brother was busy on his iPad. I dusted myself off and was a bit scared but I left it off my mind for a little bit but I was traumatized in what was happening. I didn’t tell my parents and I researched quite a bit about lice. Time passed till when I was taking a test at my desk. I was kinda stressing about it so I was messing up my hair a bit. Then a small bug, a think a nymph, fell on my desk. I smashed it. A little later a bigger one fell and it was getting away until my teacher flicked it off my desk. After that, I’ve been scratching like crazy, not on my hair, but on my body. I’m also researching like crazy on how to get rid of lice without telling your parents. So many of the recommendations say you need this, you need that, but how am I supposed to get that without telling anyone?! So finally, dis morning, I kinda, not really, told my dad I had lice but he was super chill about it. He said, “You have lice? Oh, just tell your mom. She can get rid of it.” Then left, he had to go somewhere. I’m WAY too scared to tell my mom that I have lice because I’m afraid she’ll freak out like she does with every thing. I already washed my sheets and vacuumed my bed and chair to make sure they won’t come back, but I still have them. The biggest problem I have is that, I’m not 100% sure I have lice. I just want help. Since I’m traumatized, I’ve broken down about it quadruple times. Anyone who can help, please please please do. I’m desperate.

      • May 26, 2016 at 5:51 pm

        Hi Abbie,

        If you really feel you can’t tell your mom, you still need to tell someone who can get you the right stuff to treat your hair. They won’t go away on their own just from vacuuming and washing your sheets. Do you have an adult who can help you get some kind of hair treatment?

        • May 26, 2016 at 9:23 pm

          Well… probably my dad. But in the end, my mom will figure out. Plus he’s not really good with these types of situations. My mom knows how to handle health situations like this but freaks out. I think I just need the courage to tell her. I’m still trying to find a good time to tell her though. Thank you so much for replying!!

          • May 26, 2016 at 10:40 pm

            Good luck!

            • May 26, 2016 at 11:20 pm


              • June 19, 2016 at 4:35 am

                Hi Abbie. I battled lice for three months and in the end I ended up using my blow dryer and flat iron. First I blow dried my hair for like ten minutes then I flat ironed my hair. When you flat iron your hair make sure do in small sections. Then repeat the process for two more days. Worked for me. Good luck and hope this works for you too.

              • July 23, 2016 at 7:12 am

                Omg Im going to try Blow drying only do u think that only would work cuz I dont have a flat iron

      • June 1, 2016 at 4:16 am

        Hi Abbie! I had lice in 7th grade and also kept it a secret from my parents. It was traumatizing. I was embarrassed. I battled them alone for months while other kids in my class got picked on for having them, I managed to keep mine hidden. Looking back, there was no reason to be embarrassed to tell my mother. This is a time to confide in her. Let her know you can’t handle her freaking out about it and you need her help. I am now 31 with two daughters of my own. I found lice in ALL of our hair yesterday. I cried today because it’s a LOT to deal with with 2 little girls. I made sure to tell my daughter about how embarrassed I was and that I didn’t need to be, just like she has nothing to be embarrassed about. You must have REALLY clean hair. It happens to most people and this is a perfect time to confide in your mom and ask for help. I’ll never forget being in 7th grade and keeping lice a secret.

        • June 2, 2016 at 4:43 am

          But my mom is different. It’s just the way I know her. I told my dad to check me, but he didn’t really thoroughly check. Dis morning I was taking a shower and I finished, but my hair was still soapy, so I rinsed my hair again. I put my head down under the faucet in the shower and when I was rinsing out the soap, I saw a black thing fall from my hair and it was moving but the water was running so it went down the drain. Since I wear glasses, I wasn’t able to distinctly see what it was but I’m positive it was a louse. It’s been 3 months now that I’ve known I have lice. I finally decided to give up on truly telling my dad I have lice and take care of it on my own. I’m going to try the olive oil technique soon. Just looking for the right time. Does anyone know if extra virgin olive oil work?

    • June 12, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      Helena, talk to your doctor. If you are using the off-the-shelf pesticide shampoo and it did not kill your lice, they may be resistant. There are other shampoos available by prescription that may work better.

  • May 5, 2016 at 4:34 am

    I’m going crazy! I found out my daughter had lice Monday…of course I had someone check me immediately, but nothing. We did the treatment for her and I’ve combed rigorously daily ( even just cutting the nits out..I’m tired of these bastards! Yaay! Not quite. I had a friend check myself again this evening and she said I had several nits! *#×@!!! I’ve completed treatment on myself and did actually find one Loura and a couple nits…but nothing else other than dandruff (i was combing hard enough to bring blood and my hair is extremely thick and curly..and long unfortunately!). I’m still freaking out but I’m tired and my hair is just impossible. Is it possible to still have live or nits after combing with a metal comb for like 2 hours and finding nothing else? I actually thought about shaving my head and getting a wig! I just want to cry

    • May 5, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      Hi Jennifer,

      I know – lice totally sucks and is initially devastating, hey. It does seem like your combing should be effective. I found this advice on When lice and nits are present, hair should be combed at least twice daily and, if shoulder length or longer, pulled back and up in a braid or bun. This process should continue for 2 weeks after lice and nits are no longer found during the combing process. After this, you can resume routine screening by combing twice weekly.

      Don’t shave your head! It will be fine eventually, you will get rid of them!

      Hope you feel better (and beat the lice!) soon!

  • April 30, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    So my 9 year old son has lice. He also has really great, blonde dreadlocks. I can’t get those nits combed out! I’ve vinegar washed him and I keep him coated in a coconut/ tea tree oil. I’ve taken to popping the nits with a pair of tweezers. Hopefully that works!

    • May 1, 2016 at 12:13 am

      Nit picking is hard if you can’t slide the nit down off the end of the hair shaft. I can see the nit popping working. You can also try food grade diatomaceous earth – sprinkle it on at least overnight, wash out in the morning.

      Good luck!

  • January 23, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    We discovered our youngest had it on Monday. I immediately put the stuff in her hair and have been picking nits everyday. Today we are going to “clean” her room. We washed everthing but the stuffed animals, who have just been sitting in the garage still, unwashed in a basket. I guess my question is, since it’s been since monday, what are my chances everything on her bed and in her room are dead? (forgot to mention, she has not been in the room since Monday. Its been locked up) I plan to THOROUGHLY clean and vacuum everthing in there today, but I was curious.

    • January 23, 2016 at 6:58 pm

      Hey there! I’m not sure how long it takes for lice to die off the body, but I slept in the same bed every night with unwashed sheets (no choice!) and still managed to get rid of them!

      • January 25, 2016 at 2:45 am

        Ok well we moved her bed and vacuumed her carpet… So here’s hoping. Thanks for responding.

  • January 23, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    We discovered our youngest had it on Monday. I immediately put the stuff in her hair and have been picking nits everyday. Today we are going to “clean” her room. We washed everthing but the stuffed animals, who have just been sitting in the garage still, unwashed in a basket. I guess my question is, since it’s been since monday, what are my chances everything on her bed and in her room are dead? I plan to THOROUGHLY clean and vacuum everthing in there today, but I was curious.

  • January 13, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Love this! I don’t feel so paranoid anymore. It really needs the school working together with us. I was about to vacuum the car, but I think that would be overkill.
    Thanks for your down to earth speaking 🙂

  • April 17, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Absolutely spot on. Been fighting lice and nits on my daughters’ head since Sept 2013 (UK school year 2). Now April 2015 (UK year 3).
    The issues to stop re-occurrence are:
    – Teachers encouraging ‘hugs” to make up after an argument/disagreement
    – Group working sessions where they share work and work with 1 or 2 people at the same table (heads will touch)
    – Play dates / Sleep overs
    – Breakfast Club & After School clubs
    – Lunch time where they all sit very close together

    So basically. Unless the WHOLE Year or School works on the problem together with massive coordination. It will never be eradicated in my school. And it is not an impoverished school at all.

    • December 8, 2016 at 3:42 am

      Hi Paul, do you use a preventive spray in your daughter’s hair and pull it back in a braid or bun every day? These things are super frustrating to get rid of, but you should be able to prevent getting them again!!! (Not sure if you can get this in the UK, but this is the spray I’d use.)

  • July 21, 2014 at 5:27 am

    That was the funniest set of nit removing instruction’s I’ve ever read .You’ve missed your calling you should consider comedy script writing as this shit was funny as all hell .I couldn’t stop laughing as I read through your blog
    Thanks for that wish me luck and happy hunting .
    I’ll beat these bastards soon enough .

  • June 27, 2014 at 11:55 am

    This is a great info, thanks.

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