Are you dealing with a lice infestation? Have you been searching for an effective solution? You are in the right place! In this blog, we will explore the best ways to treat lice at home.
Quick facts: Treating Lice At Home
- ✅ According to the CDC, over-the-counter lice treatments are often not effective in treating lice, Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- ✅ Combining manual lice removal with an over-the-counter or prescription topical treatment is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics to get rid of lice, Source: American Academy of Pediatrics
- ✅ Over-the-counter lice treatments are becoming increasingly ineffective due to the development of lice resistance to these treatments, Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)
- ✅ Approximately 6 million to 12 million cases of head lice are reported each year in the United States, Source: American Academy of Dermatology (AAD)
- ✅ Soaking the hair in vinegar and water before shampooing can help to remove lice and eggs (nits), Source: American Academy of Pediatrics
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Diagnose the Infestation
Before you can treat lice infestation at home, it is important to determine if you or your family member actually has lice. Hair should be examined for lice or eggs, which are often called nits. As lice do not fly or jump, they must be transported from one person to another by direct head-to-head contact. It is important to accurately diagnose the infestation before attempting to treat it.
Identify the type of lice
Identifying the type of lice infestation is the first step in treating lice at home. There are two main types of lice: head lice, and body lice.
Head lice are most commonly found in humans and live on the scalp, while body lice live on clothing and bedding.
To accurately identify head or body lice, it is important to inspect the affected area closely with a magnifying glass and part the hair if possible.
- Head lice eggs are oval-shaped, whitish-grayish in color, and have a sticky coating. They are usually found near the scalp of an infected person.
- Adult head lice appear small (often less than one-tenth of an inch), grayish-white, and move quickly from side to side when disturbed.
- Body Louse eggs look very similar to those of head louse but they are typically found on clothing or bedding instead of near the scalp on an individual’s skin. A magnifying glass can be used to check for adult body lice which also appear small (less than one-tenth of an inch) but they tend to move more slowly than those found on individuals’ scalps due to their environment being less conducive for activity.
Assess the severity of the infestation
When trying to diagnose a lice infestation, it’s important to understand the severity of the problem. If you see live lice on your child’s head, that is considered a moderate or severe infestation. You can also tell by examining the surrounding area; if there are eggs that have hatched on the hair shaft, that indicates a moderate to severe infestation. Additionally, if your child is scratching his or her head more than usual and/or complain of an itchy scalp, this could indicate a lice infestation as well.
Finally, it’s important to check for secondary signs of lice such as:
- Small white flakes in the hair
- Red sores on the scalp caused by skin irritation due to scratching
It’s also important for parents to inspect their own hair and the hair of any other family members in case they may have picked up lice from their child or vice versa. With these steps in mind, you can begin to assess how severe your family’s lice infestation is before starting treatment.
Prepare for Treatment
Before beginning lice treatment, it is important to prepare for the process. It is important to assess the level of infestation, gather the necessary supplies like a lice comb, and plan the best way to clean their environment. Once you are ready to begin treatment, you can start following the steps outlined in this article.
Gather lice-killing products
When preparing to treat lice at home, it is important to first gather the necessary lice-killing products. This includes both a shampoo specifically designed to kill lice and an over-the-counter comb.
Lice shampoos contain a variety of active ingredients such as pyrethrin, permethrin, and sometimes malathion. These ingredients work together to quickly kill off any remaining lice or eggs.
An over-the-counter nit comb is also important in ensuring all eggs are effectively removed from the head during treatment. The nit comb should have long teeth with a fine enough point that it will glide through even the most stubborn tangles and remove all potential lice nits from hair strands.
Having these two items on hand will effectively prepare you to treat lice at home.
Wash bedding and clothing
When it comes to getting rid of lice, washing bedding and clothing is an important step. Any items that have been in contact with a person who has lice should be washed, including bedsheets and pillowcases, hats or scarves, towels and washcloths, clothing worn while infested and hairbrushes/combs. Loose stuffed animals should also be washed. It is recommended to use a regular laundry detergent with hot water (at least 130°F) for washing these items.
Any items that cannot be washed can be placed in a plastic bag for two weeks – this prevents the lice from surviving without a host. After two weeks the bag can then be thrown away safely.
Vacuum carpets and furniture
Vacuuming carpets and furniture is an important part of treating lice at home. Lice may have a tendency to hide in carpets, rugs and furniture in the house, so it is important to vacuum these areas thoroughly to get rid of any lice. Vacuuming may not kill the lice, but it can help reduce their numbers.
To ensure the best success when vacuuming, it is important to:
- Go over areas several times with a strong vacuum cleaner.
- Throw away any vacuum bag or disposable filter immediately since they may contain lice or their eggs.
Treat the Hair
The first step in treating lice at home is to treat the hair. For this, you can use an over-the-counter lice shampoo that is designed to kill lice eggs and adults on contact. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product and leave the shampoo in the hair for the recommended time before rinsing it out.
It is important to use a nit comb afterward to remove any remaining lice or eggs from the hair.
Apply lice-killing shampoo
Applying a lice-killing shampoo is a safe, effective way to eliminate lice and their eggs (called nits). Most lice-killing shampoos contain an insecticide called pyrethrins or permethrin. These insecticides work by poisoning the nervous system of the lice, killing them within minutes after contact.
To properly apply a lice killing shampoo, part the hair into sections and apply the shampoo from roots to tips. Be sure to cover all areas of the scalp, neck, and ears. After 10 minutes of rinsing and combing through with a fine-toothed nit comb rinse out any residual product. For best results follow up with a vinegar rinse. Vinegar helps dissolve the glue that binds lice eggs (nits) to the hair shafts making them easier to remove with a nit comb when dried.
If using an over-the-counter shampoo always be sure to read instructions carefully before use as they may vary from one product to another.
Use a lice comb to remove lice and eggs
Using a lice comb is one of the most effective ways to remove lice and their eggs. A lice comb is a narrow-toothed comb (usually made of metal) which can be used to comb out lice and their eggs from the hair shaft. It should be used after applying any type of treatment, such as a chemical or natural remedy, to ensure that all lice and eggs are removed.
Comb gently through the hair in small sections, making sure that every strand is examined for lice or nits. Make sure to rinse the comb frequently between strokes and pay close attention to areas behind the ears and near the nape of the neck. Finally, to avoid re-infestation or contamination, do not share combs, brushes or hats with others who have had an active case of head lice.
Treat the Skin
The skin is an important place to start when treating lice at home. It’s important to understand the different types of lice that can affect humans and the various skin treatments that are available. Different types of lice can require different treatments.
In this section, we will discuss the various methods for treating the skin for lice:
Apply a lice-killing cream
To effectively treat mites on dogs at home, it is important to apply a lice-killing cream or solution to the scalp. This should be done after combing out the lice eggs with a nit comb. The chemical ingredient in these products, called an insecticide, kills the head lice by disabling their nervous system.
Generally speaking, it is best to use products that contain pyrethrins or permethrin as their active ingredients. Pyrethrins are naturally occurring compounds found in certain flowers and are often used as a safe alternative to traditional chemical treatments. If your product contains permethrin, it’s important to follow the instructions closely and wear gloves when applying the cream or solution. Once applied, leave it on for the recommended amount of time before rinsing off and repeating with a new treatment if necessary.
Wash the skin with soap and water
Washing the skin with soap and water is one of the most effective ways to treat lice at home.
- First, take a warm shower and use a mild soap to thoroughly cleanse the skin. This will help remove any dirt or debris that could be harboring lice or nits which can survive on the body for up to 48 hours.
- Next, use a fine-toothed comb to gently go through wet hair and scalp, starting near the roots and combing downwards as far as possible. You may also consider using an anti-lice shampoo designed specifically to treat head lice; follow directions on the product packaging for best results.
- Finally, rinse the entire body with warm water, paying particular attention to areas behind ears and at the neckline.
While treatment of lice at home is possible, it’s important to take steps to prevent re-infestation. To help do this, it’s important to take steps to clean the items that may have been in contact with the lice. This includes bedding, clothing, and any furniture or objects in the home that may have been used.
Let’s explore some of the steps you can take to prevent re-infestation:
Check family members for lice
It’s important to check everyone in your family for lice if one person has it. Even if you believe that a particular family member doesn’t have lice, they should still be checked. If a family member is found to have lice, the entire household should be treated together since it’s contagious and could easily spread from person to person.
To check for lice, look through each family member’s hair thoroughly with a fine-toothed comb or special lice comb. Check each section of the hair as you go for any signs of lice or eggs. Also inspect behind the ears and at the back of the neck. If any live bugs or eggs are found, treat the entire family using an over-the-counter lice treatment product specifically designed for this purpose.
Wash clothing and bedding again
When treating lice at home, it is important to wash any clothing, hats, towels, and bedding that have been exposed to lice in hot water and detergent. This should be done twice in order to ensure any remaining lice or eggs are eliminated. In addition to this you should dry the items on a high heat setting as this will kill any remaining lice or eggs that may still be present.
It is also a good idea to vacuum your furniture, rugs and upholstery as well as seal any item that cannot be washed in a plastic bag for two weeks so that the lice will starve. Finally, make sure all items are stored away from any other items which have already been treated in order to prevent cross contamination.
Vacuum carpets and furniture again
Vacuuming carpets and furniture is an important part of lice treatment and prevention. Vacuuming removes adult lice that have become attached to fabric, as well as eggs (nits) that may have been laid. Before using a vacuum cleaner, it is important to remove any loose lice or nits from the surface of the fabric first.
Once all visible lice and eggs are removed, use the vacuum cleaner’s crevice attachment to thoroughly clean all carpets, upholstered furniture, curtains, decorative pillows and any other fabric surfaces in the home. Vacuum again after a few days to help ensure that any remaining eggs or adult lice have been removed from the environment.
FAQs about: Treating Lice At Home
Q: What are the best home remedies for treating lice?
A: Combing through the hair with a lice comb, using an essential oil shampoo, and applying a vinegar rinse are the best home remedies for treating lice.
Q: How long does it typically take to treat lice?
A: Treatment for lice typically takes about two weeks. It is important to continue the treatment regimen for the full two weeks to ensure all the eggs and lice are eliminated.
Q: What are the signs of a lice infestation?
A: The most common sign of a lice infestation is an itchy scalp. Other signs may include small red bumps on the scalp, visible lice or nits (lice eggs) in the hair, and a tickling feeling on the scalp.