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Conditions

Pediculus Capitis

A female head louse (Photo courtesy of CDC)

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People of a certain age will undoubtedly be familiar with the legendary ‘Nitty Nora’, the once ubiquitous, but now defunct, nit nurse from their childhood. It was Nitty Nora’s regular school visits that usually struck fear into most children’s souls, terrified that she would discover head lice ensconced on their bonces. These pin-head sized grey-brown, wingless insects, live by sucking blood from the scalp, and leave their eggs (tiny white specks commonly known as nits), glued to the base of hairs. Head lice are transferred by close hair-to-hair contact, which makes them common in schoolchildren, particularly between the ages of 4 and 11. However, anyone with hair – child or adult – can catch them. Head lice cannot jump, swim or fly, so they’re not quite the all-action heroes we might think. However, contrary to popular belief, they have no preference whatsoever as to the cleanliness or style of a host’s hair.

How to treat headlice

Wet-combing method:
The most effective way to get rid of a head lice infestation is to employ the wet-combing method. Wet-combing involves carefully combing the hair from the scalp outwards, using a specially designed fine-toothed comb with spacing of less than 0.3mm. Although a painstaking process wet-combing has the advantage that no medicated products are required and the lice can’t build up a resistance to the method. Moving from the scalp outwards, covering the whole of the head, the comb should collect the lice and eggs between its teeth, preventing further infestation.

Medicated sprays and lotions:
The alternative to the wet-combing method is to invest in specially designed sprays and lotions. It is important to note that no spray or lotion will be 100% effective against head lice and they are best used in conjunction with wet-combing. Depending on the product and the length and density of hair, sprays and lotions need to be left on the scalp for anywhere between 10 minutes and 8 hours. Normal advice is to treat hair with medicated sprays and lotions again a week after the first application to make sure that the infestation has been cleared. Any pharmacist will be able to give advice and provide over the counter sprays and lotions.

Heat treatment process:
As lice are fond of warm damp environments, treating the scalp with heat is another possible method of removing head lice. The best way of removing lice in this way is employing a professional to kill the lice by drying them out. This treatment will however cost a minimum of £50 and is not available in all areas.

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ive had them for years help me please!





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I'm 14 years old and I keep getting nits. I've tryed everything from wet combing to all the sprays and lotions, washed everything like bedding, brushes.I don't think any of my friends have them, so don't know who they are off and don't know how to get rid of them permantly?!





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I'm 19 and I keep catching nits but I don't know how. I NEVER make direct contact with anyone else's hair, I NEVER share hairbrushes/combs/clips etc, I ALWAYS tie my hair back, I DON'T share a bed with anyone and I even keep my towel separate to everyone else's to avoid them spreading through fabric. I don't work with children or the elderly, or in a hospital environment. Why do I have them? I want to be a hairdresser but my nits are holding me back. I need prevention!





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My kids constantly had nits and I found Johnson's baby detangling spray is the best to keep them away





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If you are in a foreign land, Vaseline should be available. Lice is very common, and nothing to be embarrassed about. :) best wishes. It's a very common thing, and people at least get it once in their life.





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Here's a way to get rid of them.......... FOREVER!!!!! First wash your hair with your normal shampoo. Make sure to wet your hair ALOT. This slows lice down. Then get Vaseline. Apply Vaseline to hair EVERYWHERE. DONT miss any spots. Pay attention to the back of the ears and nape of the neck. Apply extra to these areas. Do this for about ten minutes. If you have a heavy infestation, use the whole bottle. Put on a shower cap. Leave cap on overnight. This should have weakened the lice, making them weak, and killing some of them. This also kills some eggs. Wash your hair in the morning with RID or lice freee, products without dangerous chemicals. Repeat this process for about a week if heavy infestation. After repeating this process, apply tea tree oil. Lice HATE this. Wash your hair with the tea tree oil. This will kill lice. Finally, use a straightening iron to kill all nits. Burn them. Let them suffocate. This will also kill any live lice. Finally, again, apply Vaseline for a few hours, and was your hair with water and tea tree oil. WASH ALL bedding, pillows, stuffed animals, blankets, bed sheets, bed skirts, clothes, etc. Keep all hair accessories, such as scrunchies, hair bows, clips, etc in plastic bags for a week to make sure you have killed all the lice. Vacuum rugs, couches, etc. When you are done with this process, do one last thing: get a find metal tooth comb and look for nits, or live lice. If you find any, which is unlikely, dip them in a bucket of water. VIOLA! Say goodbye to those critters!!!!! To prevent future infestation, treat all family members. Wash everything. To prevent future cases, apply tea tree oil to your hair every day, and lice will back off and move on. Lice also don't like hair spray. Also use coconut shampoo. Or rosemary shampoo. Good luck!! - Megan





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I tried the olive oil. I kept it on overnight. The next morning I combed my hair and there was still live lice. I am going to try it again with a shower cap on to see if that helps suffocate them. Hope it works. Have tried everything and nothing seems to work.





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Look at what I said and follow my advice, and you should be fine. :)

I've had nits for many years and can't get rid of them I'm 14 and just want to get rid off them I've tried everything and nothing nothing work where can i get it done please help





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I've had nits for many years and can't get rid of them I'm 14 and just want to get rid off them I've tried everything and nothing nothing work where can i get it done please help





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Read what I said, follow the advice, and good luck!!!

Hi I'm 13 and I've had nits for ages. It's the worst thing in the world, if anyone in my school finds out then it will spread and no one will come near me. Can somebody please help me quick, I hate having nits and I just want to kill them all!!





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Oh and I have used various shampoos and not combs


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