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The best way to rid lice from your hair

Yellow fine-toothed comb pulled through strands of long hair.

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The best way to rid lice from your hair

June 04, 2013

Q: I'm a 30-year-old woman, and I've had a problem with head lice for over a year now. I have long, thick hair that is full of nits, mostly in the back of my hair. I comb every day with a lice comb, and I get 100s of nits out every time I comb! It never seems to end. What's the best way to get rid of nits?

A: The best way to remove nits from the hair is wet combing each section of the scalp thoroughly and painstakingly for 12 days daily (preferably 16 days).This has been found to be more effective than any insecticide or chemical application.

You will need to wash the hair, apply a healthy amount of basic hair conditioner, and go over a small area of the scalp combing the hair with a fine nit comb after separating the tangles with a normal comb. Every nit must be removed, because even if two nits are missed, you may have a full-fledged relapse.

Any nits still sticking will need to be removed by using a fine pair of tweezers. The nits/lice eggs are not affected by insecticides. After finishing one area, the cleaned hair should be put in a curler and a fresh area started till the whole scalp is covered. Getting a haircut to very short hairs will help, as the hair will grow back once the lice are eliminated.

Replacing the mattress (and blanket if a woolen one is used) or getting a airtight plastic cover is essential for the lice may be laying the eggs in the mattress. Non-fibrous surfaces like bedsheets may be cleaned using a lint roller, which will remove any infected stray strands.

The lice will respond to oral Ivermectin and use of silicone-based products which physically smother the lice like Full Marks spray or solution and Linicin/Lyclear lotion (all are effective within 15 minutes of application). Here is a useful site for more information.

-- Answer from Vakul Aren, a physician on JustAnswer.

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