Quick Guide: Head Lice Removal

Facts and general information about head lice removal: diagnosis, treatment methods, and cost.

I.     Introduction

Head lice are small insects that live on people’s heads and feed on human blood. Head lice infestation is a widespread problem in children and causes concern among parents and childcare workers. However, they don’t transmit infectious diseases.

II.   Symptoms and spreading

You may get a tickling feeling on your head with itching and sometimes redness. Itchiness does not mean that a person has head lice and head lice don’t always produce symptoms.

Head lice spread through direct contact among children (head-to-head), or indirectly on items such as hats, combs, hairbrushes, headbands, and helmets. The head lice that live on people cannot live on pets or other animals and vice versa.

III. Diagnosis

Carefully inspect each person’s hair and scalp. Look for head lice eggs (called nits), which are oval and about the size of a pinhead. You will find them firmly attached to the hair shaft and they cannot be brushed off easily.

A female louse may lay about three to eight nits per day. The louse attaches the nits to the hair fibers within 1.5 cm of the scalp and needs the warmth from the head to hatch. Head lice do not have wings or jumping legs, so they cannot fly or jump from head to head. They can only crawl.

The most effective way to find them is to use the conditioner and remove them with a comb weekly:

Step 1: Comb hair conditioner onto dry, brushed hair to make it easier to comb and slow the lice’s movement.

Step 2: Section the hair and go from root to ends with a fine-tooth head lice comb.

Step 3: Squeeze tightly around the comb and wipe it onto a paper towel.

Step 4: Look through the towel and comb for lice and nits.

Step 5: Comb through every part of the head at least four or five times in different directions.

Step 6: You must treat every person that shows signs infestation to eliminate head lice.

IV. Treatment

There are three basic self-treatment options for head lice:

• topical pediculicides

• wet combing, and

• oral medication.

Some salons offer head lice removal services. The only downside is the price. This services will cost you good money (it can cost a few hundred dollars per children), and you’ll have to go there more than once. Rates aren’t fixed, but the price for this service is about $100 per hour.

Another alternative is a head lice treatment specialist, found in some areas of the country.

Topical pediculicides

Head lice products can be divided into four groups based on the active compound:

• pyrethrins

• synthetic pyrethroids

• organophosphates, and

• herbal products.

Effective pediculicides kill both lice and eggs. The pediculicide should be applied to dry or wet hair, left for the advised time, then rinsed thoroughly with warm water. No treatment kills 100% of eggs. Therefore, the procedure must be repeated 7–10 days after the first treatment to kill any nymphs that have hatched from remaining eggs.

If over-the-counter products containing pyrethroids do not work, it is unlikely that prescription strength (5%) permethrin will either. For children 2–12 years of age, preparations containing permethrin or pyrethrins are safe. All infected members of the patient’s family should be treated simultaneously.

Wet combing

Pediculicides are not recommended for children under two years of age. Therefore, mechanical removal of lice on wet hair with a hair conditioner and a fine-tooth comb is an alternative.

Oral Therapy

 A recent trial of oral trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim) in addition to permethrin rinses, only increased the cure rate marginally (89–95%).

Ivermectin has also been investigated for the treatment of lice resistant to conventional pediculicides but is not approved for the treatment of head lice.

Post Treatment

The scalp might become itchy after the lice treatment. This does not mean that the treatment didn’t work. Anti-itch medicine, such as Benadryl or another antihistamine, may help.

If you ever have lice go to Lice Charmers! Emily was awesome. We had already done a treatment at home but weren't sure we got everything out of our daughter's head. She found 3 bugs that we either missed or that had hatched since the home... treatment. She was extremely thorough. Highly recommend!!read more
Emily was so helpful. Made me feel right at ease and made me smile throughout the process. This is a service you hope not to have to use often but if in fact I get another case of head lice, they’d be the first to call. Great communication.... Responded quickly to my request etc. Thank you again! Will be sure to tell others about them.read more
Everything was super easy and everyone was so helpful. Would highly recommend this place!
Lice Charmers did a great job removing all lice and left us with an action plan. Best money spent to give our family a peace of mind. Quick, efficient and personable.
Emily was fantastic! She was very personable and made us feel comfortable. Service was thorough and really gave me peace of mind. Definitely recommend this place if you ever have to deal with those nasty little bugs!
Fluid experience from start to finish. Lots of tips and good experience while getting treatment. My 14 year old actually had an enjoyable experience and thought the person was “really sweet.” . Highly recommend Lice Charmers!
Emily was awesome and was able to rid my daughter of all the lice. She was extremely knowledgeable and helped me know what to do to clean out the house!Thanks Emily and Lice Charmers!
Great, friendly service and exactly what we needed to get peace of mind we were rid of all the lice. Tried home treatment first, but she still caught a few of the nits we missed and did a a thorough check of everyone in the family. Totally worth it!
Alexis was fantastic. She was super patient with our daughter, who had a pretty nasty infestation. She also was very good at explaining to and educating us about these nasty little insects.
We tried lice treatments from the store but couldn't seem to get rid of it completely and it just kept coming back. Finally I called them for lice removal and that seems to have done the job. Thanks Lice Charmers!
We were visiting friends while out of town, literally across the country when we found lice in my hair. I panicked of course and my sweet husband calmly googled and found Lice Charmers. We called and Conor was so sweet and empathetic and was able to... get me in that very day. We met Lex at the office and she was so unbelievably nice. She calmed our (my) anxiety, we had great conversation and the appointment took about an hour, which was much quicker than we expected considering I have long and thick hair. This was pain free, relaxing and honestly not as big of a deal and I thought it was going to be.This service was well worth the money we spent. Thank you!read more
This was our first head lice experience with our child. Lex, and Lice Charmers came the same day we called and quickly helped reassure us that once she left we would all be lice free. I particularly appreciated the 30 day guarantee. Lice Charmers... willingness to help guide us on best practices for what we needed to take care of in our home to ensure we wouldn't be reinfected was also such a help. Thanks so much Lice Charmers!read more
This service was so professional and so helpful. We are lice free and had a great experience getting it done!
Very kind and knowledgeable. We were seen the same day we called which was a great relief! Highly recommend!
Lex did a great job with our whole family- my mom, husband, 2 year old daughter and 3 month old son. Very thorough, professional, and knowledgeable! We hope we don't have to call on her again, but are grateful she's around in case we do in the... future! Thanks so much!read more
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