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Getting Rid of Head Lice: Nitpicking is Key

Getting Rid of Head Lice: Nitpicking is Key
Updated on 
April 23, 2020

The best way to get rid of head lice and their eggs (nits) is to manually remove them from the hair. We do not recommend chemical lice treatment (prescription lice treatment, over-the-counter lice remedies, or home-made herbal remedies). No matter what route you take to eradicate lice, combing and nitpicking must be included.

In the case of getting rid of a nasty (or not so nasty) case of lice, combing and manual lice removal have to be part of the lice treatment. These creatures hold on for dear life and need to be removed, pronto!  Nits (eggs) and lice (bugs) have one thing in common: they’re built to survive. So it’s our job to combat them!

Let’s take a closer look at what makes them so tough to beat…

racine what head lice infestation egg nit bug look like

What Do Nits Look Like?

Nits, or the lice eggs from which the actual bugs hatch, have a uniquely sticky substance that bonds them to the hair strand during the incubation period. This glue-like substance is secreted by the female louse (egg laying female) from her “accessory gland” also known as her glue-gland or collateral gland. Source: Nature.com This glue, made of proteins, quickly hardens into a sheath which covers and protects her egg and tightly adheres it to the hair shaft.(The embryo inside breathes through a special duct).  Once hatched, 6 – 9 days after being laid, the nit “shell” still remains attached to the hair strand for a long period of time, if not physically (manually) removed.  In order to completely get rid of lice, one must remove every nit from the hair. No known “substance” can loosen the adhesive from the strand.

What Do Lice Look Like?

racine what do head lice bug look like

Adult lice have six legs (three pairs) with claws at the end that allow them to latch tightly to your hair. On the shin of each “leg” is a “thumb” like extension, which interacts with the movable claw on the “foot” of the leg,  enabling the bug to literally grip all kinds of hair strands, thick or thin.  They also have receptors on their legs which allow them to be aware of interruptions or movements of the hair, which in turn enable them to move away from danger areas where they might “lose their grip”.  Combing or brushing of the hair or even scratching of the head can be detected, and the lice will move away from the zone that might cause them to lose their footing. These bugs are built to last! Source: LiceWorld.com

Chemical Lice Treatments Are Not The Way To Go

A lot of people, when faced with lice removal, opt for chemical lice treatments. Given how hearty the lice and nits are, this is not the best lice treatment. In fact, no lice remedy will kill nits. Because the nit has a protective outer coating, the lice medications do not get absorbed. You are wasting your money and your time trying to exterminate nits in this way.

Likewise, you cannot kill lice at home using chemical lice medications. Lice are resistant to these medications as they have developed an immunity over time. These resistant lice are called “super lice” and they can be found in almost every state in the U.S. Source: ScientificAmerican.com 

Most pediatricians are not lice doctors. What this means is that they did learn about head lice in medical school and they have neither the time nor inclination to perform lice treatment in their office. They may recommend a prescription lice treatment, which may or may not kill all lice and may have side effects. In addition, you may have some symptoms of lice, like itchiness, but not actually have lice. The medication will,have no effect on nits so you are still left with the chores of combing and nitpicking.

Some examples of prescription lice treatments are Benzyl alcohol lotion: marketed as Ulesfia; Ivermectin lotion: marketed as Sklice, Malathion lotion: on the market under the name Ovide; Spinosad topical suspension, marketed as Natroba; and Lindane lotion, which may be very toxic and is generally prescribed as a last resort. Side effects may include itchiness, eye irritation, burning feeling on the skin, headaches, nausea, and allergic reactions to the head lice treatment. Most are not recommended for children under the age of six. LiceDoctors - How To Get Rid Of Lice Permanently 

These treatments are not always effective and the cost of the lice treatment is high; some are over $200 per person per treatment.

Many parents do not call the doctor, they head for the drug store to buy over-the-counter lice shampoos.  These lice medications have permethrin or pyrethrum as their active ingredient. These anti-lice products are available in a lice killing kit or lice removal shampoo under names like Nix, Rid, A-200, and Pronto, and generic versions.

As with prescription lice treatments, these are allegedly the best over-the-counter lice and they do not kill all lice and they do not kill any nits. They also may have side effects and are not recommended for babies.

Herbal remedies include eucalyptus oil treatment, neem oil, tea tree oil, and more. They may be effective in suffocating lice, but test out the oil on a small area of skin to be sure that your child does not have an allergic reaction to this at-home lice remedy. These products do not get rid of lice eggs, so you still have to eradicate those,

How To Get Rid of Head Lice

So, whether it’s nits or lice, it’s difficult to

racine how to get rid of head lice family baby child toddler grandparent infant

get clean of the problem. Determined to hang on (as well as rebuff treatments to which they’ve become immune (ie. chemicals), the one key way to guarantee a clean bill of health is to manually remove all nits and lice. The best treatment for lice and nits is to apply an oil, then comb, and then nitpick after the hair is washed and dry. This is much easier said than done, but is the only lice removal that works every time.

A lice professional can be invaluable here because she knows how to identify the nits and to pull them out of the hair. Remember that nits are glued to the hair. Heat treatment for lice, like the hair dryer, will not melt the cement and as we said lice chemicals do not work.  There is technique and know-how involved here and that takes practice. Otherwise, you risk leaving nits in the hair. When that happens, the nits hatch and you will then be looking for professional lice treatment.

How Does LiceDoctors Eradicate Head Lice?

Once you realize that you need a professional lice treatment service, you want to make sure that you are in expert hands. LiceDoctors offers the most private and convenient lice treatment service right in your home. Do you want lice treatment near you. Then what could be closer than to home than being treated right in your house. You can have the peace of mind knowing that your family will not be exposed to head lice at a lice salon or germs from other clients at a lice clinic. LiceDoctors’ technicians use sanitary protocols that work to kill lice at home every time.

Your technician will apply oil, section the hair, comb your hair with a professional lice comb, and when the hair is dry, she will nitpick any remaining lice and nits. She has the proper lice treatment tools and while she is working she will educate you about head lice, giving you lice prevention tips. We know that you do not want to see us again, no matter how nice we are, so she will tell you how to treat lice on your own should you ever be exposed to lice again in the future.

LiceDoctors offers the best lice treatment for long hair or short hair, the safest lice treatment for babies and folks with allergies, and the most successful lice treatment for everyone. We operate under the guidance of a medical doctor and we have treated over 500,000 clients. Compared to a lice treatment salon, LiceDoctors prices are far lower. It will likely cost you between $600 and $800 for a family of four at a lice treatment center while our in-home lice service prices average between $300 and $400 for a family of four. Treatment is covered by HSAs and FSAs and by some insurance plans.

Your LiceDoctors lice removal pros are the best way to go. Give LiceDoctors a call in the Racine area at 262-923-8340 to be treated in your home when you need the help, any day or night of the week!

We provide a friendly in-home lice removal service

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