Here are five tips for removing lice manually from the nonprofit National Pediculosis Association (www.headlice.org). Lice combs are available in drugstores.
What public health nurses recommend is a “Derbac comb,” a tiny metal comb with teeth that are 0.5 millimeters apart. It takes two hours or so to comb out all the nits. Make sure any lice comb can be boiled to sanitize it.
1. Working in a Well lighted area, use a regular comb
or hairbrush to detangle damp, clean hair.
2. Divide the hair into small sections. Clip each section
aside it is ready to be examined.
3. Place the lice comb flat against the scalp, then pull
it slowly through a small chunk of hair from scalp to tip.
Dip the comb in water between passes.
4. Double-check that same section of hair for live lice
and nits that the comb may have missed, then examine
the next section methodically until the entire head has
5. Repeat daily for at least two weeks. For prevention,
the NPA suggests that parents perform head checks
regularly, even in the absence of lice.
Current treatment consists of several steps. After the hair is washed and conditioned, combing it section by section with a lice comb will remove most of the nits. You can also use over the- counter lice shampoos, but it is very important to follow the directions exactly as the bottle states.
The problem is that people will use a medicated shampoo and feel that they’ve gotten rid of the lice. But, sometimes, the nits are not killed and a week or so later, the eggs hatch and the lice return. Dead nits must be removed from the hair with a fine comb following the treatment to dissolve the tough cement binding the nit to the hair shaft.
Be sure to clean all combs and other hair-related items before using them again. Combs and brushes can be cleaned by soaking them for one hour in medicated shampoo, or a five-minute to 10-minute soak in a pan of water heated to 120 degrees.
Avoid Getting Reinfested With Lice After Shampooing/Combing
Your child does things like rest his head on pillows at night. He lies on the couch to watch television. He rolls around on rugs and he plays with toys. Every place he goes, he is likely to infest with head lice. So the parent has to wash all combs, brushes, headgear, bed clothing and bed linens in hot, soapy water and chlorine bleach. Pillows, furniture, rugs and other things that can’t be washed must be vacuumed thoroughly after successful shampooing and combing kills head lice.