Lice Treatment FAQ

Frequently asked questions about head lice treatment.

Yes, but you have to make sure you get every single patch of the scalp because if you miss one fertilized, adult female or two eggs, the treatment will fail and you will still have lice. Using a hair dryer is not recommended because of the potential to burn the scalp and the low chance of successful treatment.

The best treatment for lice depends on what matters most to you: price, quick results, convenience, and health risks. Here are the available options.

Lowest Cost, Most Work, Low Health Risk

Use a lice kit from the drugstore for each person in the household and manually comb through everyone’s hair daily. Eventually you will get better at it, it will hurt less, and you will get rid of lice for just the cost of a high-quality lice comb and hair conditioner.

Moderate Cost, Minimal Work, Low to No Health Risk

Hire a professional to treat you in their facility or come to your home. You will be done with lice in one day and prices average from $100-200 per person or $250-400 for a family of four depending on what service you choose and the number of people that need to be treated.

Highest Cost, Medium Work, Moderate Health Risk

Make an appointment with your doctor for a prescription for everyone that might have lice or get a lice check from a professional and then get a prescription or two for each infested person. Prescriptions that kill both adults and eggs cost about $297 for one treatment. It cannot be used on children under four and there are currently no adequate and well-controlled studies on the effects on pregnant women.

Head lice are extremely unlikely to go away on their own without any form of treatment. If untreated, they will remain on the head and spread from there until there is no source of food (blood) available.

Absolutely Required: Identify who does and doesn’t have it.
Getting everyone in and close to the household professional checked for lice is the only way to know for sure who has it. If one adult female louse or two eggs containing a male and female are missed, lice will come back and spread.

Option One

Hire a professional and you will be lice free that day.
It is expensive, but most services are guaranteed.

Option Two

Make an appointment with your doctor to get a prescription.
It is very expensive and not guaranteed to work. You will need to pay for the doctor appointment, a prescription for one or two treatments for each person who has it, and then a professional lice check to ensure it is gone. There are no health insurance companies I’m aware of that cover head lice prescriptions. Prescriptions that kill adults lice and their eggs cost about $297 per treatment.

Options Three

Shave each infested person’s head. This is the cheapest, but very traumatic, way to get rid of lice.

Depends on how sensitive your scalp it, but yes. Chances are you will feel a tickling sensation, scratch it, and forget about it. A tickingling feeling alone is not proof of head lice – even if your friend’s family has lice. If you think you have lice, get a professional lice check for peace of mind.

Very carefully. You will need two mirrors and it will not be easy and you will not know for sure if you don’t have it because of how difficult it is to check yourself for lice.  Use a wall mirror and handheld mirror, or two handheld mirrors, and check your scalp along your neck, around your ears, and along your hairline.

It is better to pay for an affordable lice check by a professional and know for sure than to spend your time checking and worrying about lice.

There are no 100% effective home remedies. Often people use a home remedy, think it is gone, and then 3-4 weeks later realize they still have lice or mistakenly believe they caught it again when it’s just the same lice infestation. If home remedies worked reliably there would be no lice products, prescriptions, or lice treatment companies.  You can increase the chance of your chosen home remedy working by doing something that is proven to treat lice: manual lice combing.

It’s very unlikely to catch lice from objects. Lice spread primarily through head to head contact, like hugs.

If you want to do something to be 100% sure:

  1. Wash all your bedding in hot water.
  2. Put all your combs and non-washable item in the freezer for four hours or bag them up for two days.
  3. Vacuum the headrests of your furniture and cars.
  4. Most importantly, tell your friends, family and your kids friends’ families to get checked. If it comes back, it will probably be from them.

Yes, but only for a short time. Head lice will die of dehydration after 12-24 hours. Nits are very unlikely to fall off the head, less likely hatch, and extremely unlikely to survive long enough to get back on the head.

Run your pillow cases through the dryer on high for 30 to 60 minutes to kill any lice or nits.

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