If you are dealing with head lice, you are most likely familiar with the term “nit-picking” referring to removing head lice eggs from the hair strand. Depending on the severity of your infestation, this process can seem endless. Nits can be hard to see and they are stuck on the hair strand so you have to tug them off. It can be tempting to give up.
Most traditional over-the-counter head lice treatments use a neurotoxin such as permethrin or pyrethrum to treat the head lice. A neurotoxin is a chemical that attacks the nervous system of the louse. However, in the nit stage, the louse has not yet developed nervous system so these products can be ineffective at killing the nit. For this reason, we developed Licefreee head lice treatments to desiccate the head lice using salt (similar to putting salt on a slug where is sucks the water right out of it). The salt also desiccates the nits it comes in contact with.
So why is it so important to pick out the nits?
Regardless of the method of treatment you use, you will want to remove the nits from the hair. There is no way of knowing by looking at a nit with the naked eye to see if it is dead or alive. It only takes 10 days for the louse to become and adult and at that point can lay 4-8 eggs per day over the next 16 days.
How to pick a nit
- Before beginning the nit picking process us a head lice treatment following all directions.
- You will also want to make sure you have a sturdy nit comb. The stainless steel kind are the best style.
- Wet the hair and then part hair into workable sections with hair clips.
- Unclip one of the sections. Start at the top of that section and lift a thin, 1 inch wide strand of hair.
- Place teeth of the nit comb as close to the scalp as possible and pass through the hair. When the comb comes in contact with the nit, you may need to tug or move the comb up and down to release it from the hair strand.
- After each pass through the hair, wipe the comb off with a disposable towel.
- Work through each section and then rinse hair after you have combed through the entire head.
- Dry hair and check the entire head for missed nits.
- It is recommended to repeat this nit-picking process each day over the next week to make sure you find them all. It is also recommended to follow up with a head lice treatment within 7-10 days of the initial treatment.