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Post Lice Treatment: What to Do After Lice Treatment?

Post Lice Treatment: What to Do After Lice Treatment?
Created on 
April 10, 2017
Updated on 
June 18, 2023

Parents often call us before we treat them and lament that they've done one treatment, then a second treatment with lice medicine, a hot water machine wash for clothes, furniture treatment with fumigant sprays, and put stuffed animals in a plastic bag. Yet their child's hair still has live lice and lice eggs. Repeat head lice has consequences, including skin damage from excessive scratching, interrupted sleep, and even bullying at a child's school.

But the instructions from head lice medications and school nurses may not be effective. Post lice treatment, here are some rational tips to make sure you don't get re-infested.

How Long After Lice Treatment Are You Contagious?

If the first treatment was effective (because you used a process that kills lice), your child can return to school the next day, even with nits in their hair, as long as the school nurse hasn't given instructions not to. Schools have dropped no-nit policies because modern lice are resistant to chemicals. With OTC lice shampoo losing effectiveness, treating head lice is harder. Kids were missing too much school. Fortunately, nits on a child's head are not contagious, since they are glued to the hair shaft.

How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Lice?

While lice treatment can kill lice in just a few hours, it is necessary to remove nits with a special nit comb after lice treatment to keep the problem from coming back. Effective follow-up includes combing a prescribed number of times for about 3 weeks. With LiceDoctors head lice treatment, we'll leave you with customizable follow-up instructions that keep the combing to a minimum. We'll also show you how to eliminate the need for washing all the clothes, bedding, pillows, and towels in the house in hot water.

What You Need to Do After Lice Treatment?

Congratulations, there are no live lice after your head lice treatment! The lice' life cycle has been interrupted, and the problem isn't active or worsening. Unfortunately, there are still steps to take after lice treatment to make sure the infestation is completely over.

  • Continue Checking for Lice and Nits

  • There are no lice treatment products that kill nits 100% in one treatment. Even the best prescription chemicals used to treat lice only kill about 75% of the eggs, and most lice shampoo or essential oils will not kill any eggs. The very next step to take after lice treatment is to use a lice comb to get rid of lice that survived the treatment and all nits from the infected person. You'll spend a couple of hours the first time, more for very long hair, but subsequent comb-outs get faster. The combination of topical treatment that can kill lice plus combing is very effective.

  • Try Low-Dose Antihistamines

  • Just like mosquito bites itch long after the insect leaves, the skin on the scalp, neck, and behind the ears may still itch after you get rid of lice. Some medications used in lice treatments can cause further irritation. A normal over-the-counter antihistamine can reduce scalp itching and redness associated with allergic reactions to lice. Follow the directions for dosage from your doctor or on the packaging instructions.

  • Restore Moisture with Deep Conditioner or Oil

  • Conditioner serves multiple purposes after lice treatment. Lice treatments can cause dry hair or scalp. Conditioner will soothe the scalp, and moisturize the damaged hair. Although scalp irritation may seem minor when worrying about repeat lice, you'll be sorry if you don't do additional treatment to moisturize and soothe the scalp. Although lice treatment medicines are generally recognized as safe, they still cause side effects. Some of these side effects mimic signs of nits, leading to unnecessary scares later.

    Coating hair with a leave-in conditioner or oil also makes it harder for a rogue louse to survive there. Our lice-repellant conditioner with essential oils is a safe way to prevent lice all year.

  • Monitor for Symptoms of Infection

  • The body's reaction to lice bites is often an itchy rash on the scalp, parts of the neck close to the scalp, and behind the ears, where head lice live. Because both an infestation and treatments can cause this symptom, having lice often involves a lot of scratching. The nails can break the skin, allowing it to become infected. Symptoms of an infection include local swelling, redness, sensitivity, warmth, and possibly even fever or lethargy. Seek a doctor's appointment when these dangerous symptoms appear after lice treatment.

Can Lice Reoccur After Treatment?

Lice treatments fail for many reasons.

  • Super lice are resistant to chemicals in common lice medicine;
  • The comb missed some nits and failed to comb them out later;
  • If you use oil, not enough was applied to suffocate the bugs;
  • Some rogue bugs were able to survive on personal items like brushes or bedding, and aftercare wasn't properly performed to prevent them from crawling back on a clean human scalp.

If lice keep coming back consider calling a professional like LiceDoctors. Our service comes with a guarantee that the lice won't come back.

How to Prevent Lice After Exposure: Best Practices

what to do after lice treatment

If you just now found lice on your kid, and others in the family don't have symptoms yet, now is the time to take preventative measures to prevent other children, as well as adults, from getting a lice infestation later. Here are some tips.

Make Sure You Follow the Instructions Fully

Your LiceDoctors technician will remove lice and eggs from the hair, then leave you with a detailed aftercare plan, including what to do after lice exposure for the rest of the children and adults in the home. Since head lice won't survive long without a blood meal, we've come up with some tricks and tips for stopping the spread by oiling the hair instead of cleaning the house. With our method, there's no need to vacuum, launder, or clean after treatment. This aftercare plan has worked for over 20 years on more than 600,000 clients. Really!

Wash all Clothing, Towels, and Bed Linens

Head lice live in hair, not personal items. Still, wash items that will touch someone's unprotected hair within the next 2 days in hot water in the washing machine (or warm water plus high heat dry). Other items that can't take high heat like stuffed animals can go in the freezer overnight so any head lice and nits die. If you follow the directions that your LiceDoctors technician gives you for every human head with hair on it in the household, this step is technically unnecessary.

Treat Hair Accessories, Combs, and Brushes

how long after lice treatment are you contagious

Other items that come into close contact with hair, like hair brushes, combs, hats, and hair accessories can be soaked in 130° hot water for 10 minutes, then immediately used on another person. Hair dryers and heat tools are hard to sanitize, so ideally set them aside and don't touch them for 2 days.

For general head lice prevention, the best practice is not to share combs, brushes, or hats (or other items that touch the hair and aren't washed regularly) at all.

Take Precautions When Going to Public Places

It is impractical to avoid all situations where you might get head lice. But to maximize safety, you may wonder, where do you get lice from most often? Be cautious in any environment where your hair or head is going to be close to another person's hair or head. This may include places like theaters, performance venues, public transit, and crowded hallways.

Keep Hair Tied Up

Lice Treatment

If you do find yourself in one of these higher-risk situations, the wise parent combs their child's hair into a tight ballet bun and coats it with a leave-in conditioner or hair spray. This is one of the best hairstyles to prevent lice. Any head lice that manage to get on that head have a harder time finding clean hair to latch onto and may die before they can feed on blood or reproduce.

Best Thing to Put on the Hair Post Lice Treatment

Immediately after you treat lice, you'll want to leave the hair coated in oil to prevent re-infestation. Talk with your LiceDoctors technician at your appointment about how our aftercare plan prevents re-infestation 99.6% of the time.

Once the immediate threat has passed (3 weeks after lice treatment), you can use LiceDoctors Lice Repellant Spray to protect the hair in higher-risk situations. Use LiceDoctors Lice Repellant Shampoo as the regular shampoo you use in the shower for daily hair protection during the school year. The scent of the natural essential oils in these products repels head lice safely.

Things to Avoid After Lice Treatment

Immediately after lice treatment, you may still be slightly contagious until the next morning. This is why LiceDoctors will generally leave your hair coated in oil for the rest of the day. But if you're not practicing this preventative method, you may need to avoid some behavior right after treatment.

Avoid Head-to-Head Contact

How to Prevent Lice After Treatment

If you don't have residual medicine or oil in your hair, take precautions. Hugging a friend right after treatment carries a small risk of transmitting head lice to them. Hugging an infested family member right after treatment carries a high risk of re-infesting you.

Don’t Overuse Treatments

Using more lice treatment medicine when no live lice remain in the hair will not help with the nits, and may increase the chances of side effects. It is the overuse of pyrethrin and permethrin-based products that contributes to rampant chemical resistance in modern head lice.

Let's talk about this more frankly.

Avoid Over-the-Counter Lice Treatments

Over-the-counter medicines with active ingredients of pyrethrin and permethrins often don't kill newly hatched lice nor do they penetrate the shell of the lice eggs. They barely kill lice at all anymore. This is due to a genetic mutation that American head lice have developed over the past few decades. Nowadays, natural treatments can work better than these products, if done properly.

Avoid Using Heat Styling Tools

It is important to note that home heat styling tools get too hot to safely kill lice on the scalp. Electric hair styling tools can cause burns if you are not extremely careful. They are hard to sanitize and should be set aside for a couple of days after eliminating all live lice from people's hair. Also, many kinds of lice treatment can cause dryness of the hair and scalp. Heat tools will further aggravate dryness, potentially damaging the hair.

Don’t Treat all Family Members

after lice treatment

Lice treatment medicines like insecticides should only be applied to others in the family if they have a confirmed case of live lice. Even so, these treatments, especially over-the-counter products, are often not very effective.

It is, however, essential to check the entire family whenever one child in the family is infested. LiceDoctors will check everyone, and teach you effective methods to prevent the spread of an infestation throughout the family.

Contact LiceDoctors if You Suspect a Reinfestation

These tiny sesame seed-sized parasites cause parents disproportionately huge stress. When you've "done it all" and the head lice seem to be returning, don't get down on yourself. There are so many head lice treatment methods out there that just don't work reliably.

Many moms and dads choose to outsource the time-consuming and creepy-crawly task of lice removal to a professional. This is why LiceDoctors exists! If you suspect a reinfestation,  call us at 800-224-2537 to speak with a dispatcher who can book an appointment today for guaranteed safe and natural lice treatment (without the need to clean, vacuum, and launder), and get back to living your life.


What to do if you still feel crawling after lice treatment?

There are a few things that might be going on.
  • Psychosomatic lice disease, or symptoms caused by worrying about lice;

  • The treatment caused scalp dryness, and the skin is tightening and flakes when it dries, creating crawling sensations;
  • Treatment was ineffective and some live lice survived.

How long will my head itch after lice are gone?

Just like most bug bites, the itching may not go away right away. While the itching from lice bites will usually pass within a week, the irritation from chemical lice treatments may last longer. The more you scratch, the longer the itch will last.

How to stop itching after lice treatment?

First, treat the scalp with a soothing hair oil to keep it from drying out from lice medication. If that doesn't help, consider an anti-itch cream or spray, calamine lotion, or oral antihistamine.

How long after lice treatment can you get a haircut?

Never go to the salon with head lice or even just nits. If a stylist finds lice, she is usually obligated not just to as you to leave and then vacuum and sanitize brushes, but sometimes also to close down for days, during which she makes no income. Wait one week after the last louse egg is found.

How long after lice treatment are you contagious?

This depends on the method of treatment. With LiceDoctors method, you can return to work or school the day after your first lice treatment with no worries about being contagious. On the other side of the spectrum, even multiple chemical treatments might never achieve this result.

Can I wash my hair after lice treatment?

Some chemical lice medicine comes with instructions to avoid shampooing with regular shampoo after treatment. But if you're using our method, you can start shampooing the oil used in our treatment out of the hair just 8 hours later.



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