Head Lice FAQ

Our head lice FAQ includes the most commonly asked head lice questions and answers. If your question and answer is not listed below, you can submit your own question on our Ask a Question page or you can review other questions submitted to us on the Head Lice Questions page.

  • How will I know if my child has head lice?

    The telltale sign is an itchy head. Scratching the itch could lead to sores on the scalp or around the neck and ears. Severe cases may cause swollen lymph glands. Other signs may include eggs and, in some cases, live lice in the hair, frequent head scratching, loss of sleep, shortened attention span and depression.

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  • Will my whole family get head lice too?

    Not necessarily. If members of your family don't share personal items, and if proper cleanup measures are taken, the infestation shouldn't spread. But, it has been known to happen.

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  • Is there anything I can do to keep my family free of head lice?

    After an infested family member has been treated, check them daily for eggs for the next 10 days. If there is evidence of new eggs or newly hatched lice, repeat the treatment. Head checking should then become part of routine hygiene.

    A family head lice check once a week is a great idea. You will need a nit (lice egg) removal comb, a magnifying glass and lots of light. Working through a small section at a time, comb through each person’s hair from the root down. If any live lice or eggs are found, begin treatment immediately.

    You may also want to try using Licefreee Everyday! Shampoo. It is formulated as an everyday shampoo to help prevent head lice infestation.

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  • What is a no-nit policy?

    A no-nit policy in schools helps control an infestation and keeps children at home until all nits are removed. This policy is just to make sure that a child has been treated, all lice have been killed, all of their eggs or nits have been removed, and there is no sign of a reinfestation.

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  • What is the best way to get rid of head lice?

    If your child becomes infested, choose a safe and proven head lice treatment. Follow all the directions carefully. A good comb-out conditioner is also a great way to help ease egg removal. Thoroughly combing out the hair until all lice and eggs are gone will help prevent reinfestation.

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  • What about allergic reactions to head lice treatments?

    Treatments that are pyrethrum or permethrin based may trigger reactions in those who are allergic to ragweed. Be sure to check the ingredients or talk to a doctor or pharmacist before choosing a treatment.

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  • I have used a head lice treatment and still have lice, what should I do?

    There are several reasons lice may remain unaffected after treatment. With any head lice treatment, all lice and nits (eggs) must come in full contact with the product. Lice can move quickly to avoid contact with the shampoo, lotion or gel. Reinfestation from environmental contact (i.e. infested hats, pillows, stuffed animals, etc.) can also occur. Missing any nits when combing out can trigger a reinfestation.

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  • Are there home remedies that work to kill head lice?

    There are many home remedies out there that, for the most part, simply don’t work and can be dangerous. Gasoline or kerosene is dangerous because of the possibility of ignition and inhalation of fumes. Methods using tea tree oil, olive oil, petroleum jelly, margarine or mayonnaise are messy, time-consuming and inconvenient. Head shaving is unnecessary and would probably upset your child. As for garden insecticide sprays, they are very dangerous for your family, including your family pets.

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