29 answers

Please Help!! Head Lice

I just found out that my daughters friend has head lice and we have never had it before!!! She slept over our house two days ago and has been coming over all day every day. I noticed her scratching her head the other day and was wondering if it could be anything and her mom said she checked her head and didn't see anything. Well tonight my daughter was over their house going to sleep over and they called and said they found nits!! OMG I have three girls and I don't know what to do. I am in the process of washing all the bed sheets now. A friend came over tonight and checked my oldest daughter and said she didn't see anything! I forgot to tell you that I brushed her hair the morning she slept over with the same brush I use on all my girls! What do I do, my husband is mad and I told him things happen and it's not something that we could have prevented. I know most kids do get it sometime but now that I'm faced with it I was overwhelmed, I even was crying! Please give me some good adivse!!!Thanks in advance!

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

So it's been two weeks since the lice incident and I think we are in the clear! We followed everyones advice to wash everything that could be washed and put stuffed toys in bags and unwashable items in the dryer! I did find one bug in my oldest daughters hair but that was as far as it got. We treated everyone in the house except my one year old (to young), and we did the retreatment 9 days later. I haven't seen anything since and no one is scratching so I think that is a good sign. Thanks to everyone for the wonderful advice and helping me get through it!!!

Featured Answers

Hi C.,
Dont panic....its not the end of the world. I would recommend using vinegar as a rinse for the next couple of nights. After shampooing them use the vinegar as a rinse and leave it in over night (wrapped in a towel) and rinse the next morning. Vinegar is an astringent. Nits have a hard time holding on to slick hair shafts. I would not use any over the counter lice products ever! They are very toxic!
You have already started the process on washing bed linens and as long as you clean and disinfect brushes and combs, you should be ok. If you do happen to find a live lice, I would apply color instead of any over the counter products.

More Answers

I know exactly how you feel! I was faced with this when my daughter was 2. She got it at her babysitter's house when some friends came to visit. I felt the same way! However, we survived and it isnt hopeless:) It is very likely that you do have them in house by now. Maybe not but very likely. They are HARD to see at first until you know what they look like. They can also bind to the hair strand farther down, they dont necc. have to be on the scalp. I used the OTC box with the comb and did the comb out with leaving the hair net on her hair for as long as she would allow it. I finally had to tell her that their were bugs in her hair and we had to do this to rid them and then she was all about leaving the hair net on. I also washed all the sheets, vacuumed alot and put her toys (stuffed ones) in black trash bags. Set them in the hot garage for about 3 days and it will kill off anything on them. You can also use the dryer. I threw out the hair brushes and got new ones. Do not reuse any ones towels for at least a few days after you know they are gone. This is a very easy way for them to spread again once you taken care of the process. The whole process got a little pricey for us and to be honest it just really sucks! Its one of those things you deal with and hope its a one time thing. Everybody gets them at one time or another so dont feel bad, it will pass. Good luck to you guys:)

1 mom found this helpful

C., my boys got this a few years ago as well. I went to a pharmacy and got a Lice/Nit Comb. It was the ONLY thing that got rid of it (plus the safest and easiest way). I kept putting the comb through their hair about 4 times a day and each time there were less and less nits. The next day I did the same thing and there were hardly any at all. The 3rd day, probably one or two nits to none. I continued combing their hair with that comb for a week and found nothing each day, but I was paranoid, so I continued.

I actually had VERY long hair at the time and worried about myself, but I never got any, thankfully! I did wash their sheets and took away their stuffed animals for about 2 weeks (I put them in the dryer first though).

Good Luck! I know how terrible of a situation it can be.

1 mom found this helpful

Oh dear. While we tend to think of lice as a dirty thing. I have heard that the children that usually get it have very clean hair! This is not something that you could have prevented. While it is a pain to resolve, its not terminal, just a pain!

1 mom found this helpful

Buy a kit at a drug store and wash all sheets and clothes. You should be fine.

Just breathe, Relax, and Take it easy. I grew up in a house with 5 other kids besides me and a set of parents. One of us came home with nits and my mom freaked. She set it up to where the house was bombed and we all had a sleep over in a hotel room. She had 6-7 boxes of RIT (which each came w a comb) and we sat there all night betting the treatment (EVERY 1, parents and all) and we were all fine the next morning. The house was fine. and we never had the problem again! just went home n did laundry and it was all finished. :) breathe easy. its a quick fix, you dont have as many ppl as we did

Good Morning C.,

Your story is one that I hear often and for many years this past year I started a company that comes into your home and removes the lice and nits with an all natural product. There is no harm to your child and all my employess have background checks and are from the medical field. Please go to my web site and see for yourself. The charge on the page has changed and it is $60 an hour and it can take up to three hours depending on how bad your child has head lice.

I will be willing to come and do it myself and I will only charge $40 an hour because you are through MaMaSource. When I come I will give you some very simple step on how to clean your home and how to make sure that they head lice stay gone. Also if your child's friends parents would like to use my company I will also give them your discounted rate but please have them let me know how they heard about it when they call. Please feel free to contact me on my personal cell phone if you have more questions.

Thank you,

J. H.
Owner of Lousey Cleaners

Hi, C.!
Don't panic!!! Lice is very common in young children; and the lice are attracted to clean hair. I would get a Lice Kit from the store and keep on hand, in case you do see lice or nits on any of your girls. I would add some vinegar to your laundry water; and use hot water. I would spray Lysol around everywhere at least a couple times a day. And check everyone's scalp for them, including you and your husband. Also, another trick is to use Tea Tree Oil, which comes in a variety of ways. I get the Tea Tree Oil shower gel at WalMart for my kids. I haven't found any shampoo with it, but I'm hoping the shower gel is good enough! LOL Also, a hairdresser told me one time to let them use a little hairspray or gel or something like that in their hair; or wash it every other day. Like I said, this helps deter the little buggers!!
Good luck!

Hi C.
Wash all washable linens and pillows; vacuum the mattresses and furniture. Treat everyone in your family with a lice treatment (LiceFree is good - does not smell bad; works well but is hard to comb through; RID works great but does not smell so good). The plastic combs that comb with the products are not really good; however there is a two-pack that RID markets seperately - you can get them at Walmart; they work really well and are reusable after you soak them in Lysol or bleach upon usage.
You also must ensure that you retreat each person again in 7 - 10 days as well as redoing the house.
Sometimes it can take weeks or even months to get them completely gone if they have long hair or if they come in contact with someone again.
It is not a sign of uncleanliness; they are passed by children who share hair brushes, hats, etc. They are attracted to clean hair.
There are a lot of home remedies out there on the internet also. Most of which do not work.
I have found something though, that has helped to repel them because they do become immune to over counter treatments - TeaTree Oil - and Tea Tree Shampoo - also found in Walmart.

I wish you the best of luck.

Hi C.,
Make sure you wash all your bed linens ih hot water and dry in the hot cycle for at least 20 minutes. Dry clean any clothing you can't wash. If there are any stuffed animals wash them or dry clean them too or find an airtight bag large enought to put them in and leave them be for at least 2 weeks. All of the combs, barettes, hair ties, headbands or brushes need to be soaked in rubbing alcohol for at least 1 hour. You learned an unfortunate lesson, never use the same comb and brush on children who sleep over as the ones you use on your on children's hair. Unfortunately you don't know what is going on on the heads of someone else's child. :) When my daughter who is 7, has a sleep over I keep her comb and hair products in my bedroom so I know where everything is at all times. I have aready told her not to use someone elses comb or brush or let anyone do her hair too. Having head lice is not a sign of poor hygiene or uncleanliness but they are so contagious and spread so easy, then you have to deal with the treatment too... so bothersome... Too bad your husband got mad instead of helping start with the treatment of all the heads of your 3 girls.... Go figure.... Hope this helps.

Both my children had head lice a couple of years ago. I was exhausted and in tears after washing everything in my house and stripping the beds everyday for about 4 days. I called my peditirician office. The nurse I spoke to said to use Cetaphil on the hair. You cover the scalp and hair with the Cetaphil. Leave it on for 24 hours. It will dry and the hair will be kind of stiff. But, this will even kill the nits. I had to use it on my son twice, but we were able to get rid of it. The nurse also recommended putting stuffed animals, etc. in a garbage bag for at least 48 hours.

You are on the right track by washing the sheets. You need to wash everything that she came in contact with. I know of a natural shampoo, a oil for softening and dislodging the nits in your daughters' hair. I know how you feel, a friend of my daughter gave lice to my daughter. I kept a close eye on that friend's hair from that time on.
P. S

C., did you hear that Melaleuca oil fights head lice? Go to www.melaleuca.com and see their product store. It is also safe for your family and non-toxic. And you can shop wholesale, just ask me how!

Hi C.

I remember this happening in out house as a child. My sister was the victim and yes there were three girls!! My mom swore by RIID or RID (pronounced rid). It comes in small bottles and costs a fortune but WORKS! She washed every piece of fabric with it and we did not have an outbreak. Good luck!!!

Hi C.,
Dont panic....its not the end of the world. I would recommend using vinegar as a rinse for the next couple of nights. After shampooing them use the vinegar as a rinse and leave it in over night (wrapped in a towel) and rinse the next morning. Vinegar is an astringent. Nits have a hard time holding on to slick hair shafts. I would not use any over the counter lice products ever! They are very toxic!
You have already started the process on washing bed linens and as long as you clean and disinfect brushes and combs, you should be ok. If you do happen to find a live lice, I would apply color instead of any over the counter products.

sWEET GIRL CALM DOWN.I got them after my daughter was born and went nuts. Go get the off brad Rid from Walmart and wash and try to comb evryones hair. I have a head full so thecomb was unbarable. They also make this mineral base non poisionous, but still gets rid off them. I treated my head three times with the rid. You can also saturate everone's head in olive oil. Wash bed linens in hot water , spray your couches, and beds. Throw pillows and stuffed animals need to go in trash bags tied and put in the attic for two weeks. Don't worry I had them and no one in my house ever did. Oh, also after you put the Rid on her head put a plastic shower cap over hers while you wait the recommended time. Please don't forget to tie your hair up and wear a shower cap as well. It may take time but they will go away.

C., I'm a social worker in an elementary school that was the resident lice checker since it didn't seem to gross me out. So I've checked a lot of heads and picked many a nit out of childrens' hair that didn't have parents that could do what was necessary to get them back in school. Yes, lice are gross, but they are managable. Once you get over the initial shock, you can get into a mode and take care of it. Once you are done, hopefully you will say, "that wasn't that bad". . .hopefully being the key word here :)

Now, I'm not a health nurse, but I'll tell you what I know. Nits are the egg stage of the actual bug. Live nits will be these almost clear flat things stuck to a hair shaft with a type of glue right up next to the scalp. Dead nits will slip down the hair shaft about an inch (they only die with the medicine that you will treat your children with if they are infested), although they are still stuck fast onto the hair shaft. To remove live or dead nits, you must treat the child's head with special medicine that you can get at the drug store, beware, it's expensive. Then you must go through every single part of the head (that takes the longest). When you see one, you must grab it in between your fingernails and pull it off all the way down the hair shaft, or use a comb with small teeth (that never worked for me) - don't worry, it doesn't move or jump at this point. It looks different than dry skin that flakes off, that's not as opaque as the nits. Now I have waist length hair that wasn't tied back as I would be checking kids, and I never got it, nor did I worry, I'm pretty sure the actual lice don't jump as high or far as fleas :)

As far as clothing, brushes, bedding, and couches, etc, there is a specific temperature that you must wash things at (i.e. very hot) but I'm not sure what exactly this process is. You can call your local health dept. and ask to speak to a health nurse, these gals are the ones that are called when school gets an outbreak (my experience is that the Dr.'s office wasn't as helpful as the health dept). They usually have brochures outlining exactly what to do.

Head lice carries a stigmatism that is scary to overcome as a parent. Not to mention that they are rather disgusting. But I've seen all kinds of kids from all kinds of backgrounds aquire the little buggers, they are really quite common, and at a normal school we'd have to check kids at least 3 times a year. Chances are your kids will go through this numerous times during school. It seems that it is one of the things we have to go through as parents, like a rite of passage or something!!

Good luck, and I hope they don't have it. But if they do, you will get through it and hopefully have a few fun stories to tell!

You're right, nothing to be mad about. It's just one of those things. My daughter was at her dad's last summer and came home with a bad and hard to get rid of case of head lice. I tried every over the counter shampoo I could buy and nothing worked!! I even tried tea tree oil in some shampoo and still nothing! I ended up calling her Ped and he prescribed this stuff called Ovide. It worked like a charm!!! Only had to use it one time and they never came back!!! In the mean time, I kept washing her bedding and spraying her bed (ours as well a few times)with that spray stuff they sell as well. All of her stuffed animals were in our shed in trash bags and I kept putting her and my hair brush in the dishwasher ever night!! I have long hair too so I treated myself a few times as well to be safe. I also did find that the metal lice combs work so much better than the plastic ones as well!!

Good luck!!


Hi C.:

If you don't see anything you still may not be in the clear. A good preventative is to go and buy the head lice kit. There is a little tiny nit comb in the kit. Wash your girls hair and put enough conditioner on to make it very slick and slippery with no tangles. Carefully comb through every area on the head several times. Especially around the hairline, behind the ears and the back of the neck. This will capture the little bugger eggs before they have a chance to hatch. You will be able to see them on the comb if they are there. Another good tip is to just throw whatever the neighbor child has touched into the dryer for about 15-20 minutes. This kills them too. Something I always did with my daughter after our head-lice incident was I pulled her hair in a pony-tail and then sprayed her hair with hair spray. The lice don't like hairspray.

First of all, it is not your fault. Anybody can get head lice no matter how wonderful and clean you are. My boys had a bout with it when they were around 8 and 11 and a few years later may daughter who has very long thick hair got it. Sometimes it takes a while to get rid of it. Those nits are pesky! If you don't have it yet, switch to a shampoo containing tea tree oil. This prevents you from getting lice in the first place. I would keep using it until the kids get to be teenagers. My children are now 12, 15 and 18 and we haven't gotten head lice in 5 years or so. Paul Mitchell makes one and I think there are others. Robi Combs are good once you have lice. It is a battery operated comb that zaps the lice and nits. If you have long hair, the regular nit combs are hard to get through the hair so put lots of conditioner in the hair (make it really thick). Then the comp and the nits will slide off much easier. I also researched head lice on the internet a few years back and ended up ordering a product from England when the American products didn't work. I cannot remember the name of it. You can also get something from your pediatrician but it is strong and they really don't like to prescribe it. I even got head lice when my daughter had it but I got rid of mine really quickly with only one treatment and my husband never got it.

Good Luck!


i know this isn't much help, but i have heard there is a product at the health food stores, that contains something that is great for lice...but i can't remember what it is called. i'm pretty sure the people at the store will know because alot of people use it to spray on their kids hair when there is lice going around.

You are right, head lice is something that just happens. When I was little I got them almost every summer for 3 years from camp. RID I believe makes a great product to wash your childrens hair with, and in some stores you can find the stuff you spray in your house to help. Throw away that brush today!


Do not worry to much this happens to I think every child, my daughter got it from a friend that came to stay over at our house. Although it is an aweful situation, you can fix it! This is a time consuming process! You need to get some RID for head lice, you can find it at wal-mart, CVS, or any pharmacy. It is a shampoo and comb kit. They also have spray that helps kill the nits before they hatch, the only thing that is depressing about the whole situation is if your girls have long hair it makes the process of combing the nits out longer than it should be. It will make you want to pull your hair out. Good Luck with this!!

It's been about 15 years since I've dealt with lice because my kids are 17 and 18 now but when I was pregnant with my 2nd child, my step child who was 6 then came home with head lice. I too freaked. But then I found out how common it is and it does not mean that you are a dirty person. It just happens. You are doing the right thing by washing all of the bed linens in hot water--there is a spray that you can purchase to spray the common areas--like sofas and chairs, pillows and mattresses--I can't remember what it is caused and the products are probably more advanced than they were 15 years ago but you can get them at the pharmacy or grocery store. Hope this helps. Have a blessed day.

C., don't panic, I am a mother of 6 who are all now teenagers. throughout my kiddie days there were many friends and I can distinctly remember one instance with my youngest child where we had this issue over and over in a two month span and came to find out it was from a child on the school bus, sitting with her daily. Please tell your husband that no one is to blame and please don't feel dirty or nasty because of this. This is a simple case of teaching your children a better hygiene program and you can also include the friend without offending anyone. Just a little mother to child talk about sharing brushes, combs, hairclips, make up and any other items that shoud not really be shared can make the conversation not be focused on just the head lice. Please go to your local drug store and ask the pharmicist for the shampoo available to treat the head lice. There are products that are envirometally safe and not harmful to the child. just follow the instructions carefully. You are headed down the right path with washing the sheets, however we have found that if you have any stuffed animals or other items in or around the bed, they may be infected as well. However you must wash everything on the same day of the treatment and then pay close attention on a daily basis to your child's activities and friends and you can find the source. Please don't alarm your child with this, it can be devistating for a child and usually not there fault.Patience is your guide!! this can be very aggravating as an adult to deal with, however with a little patience you will lick this is no time. good luck!! Mom of Many!

I feel your pain. My daughter had it at the beg. if spring. It took us a month to get rid of it. Don't buy the stuff at the drugstores, it dosen't work. Go to a health food store and get melaluca oil. You have to dilute it in a spray bottle. The also buy melaluca shampoo and conditioner or also know as tea tree oil. Get a good fine tooth comb at Walgreens. Make sure you get the one by RID one that is not plastic. It's made just or lice. You will need to comb it out in sections and look to make sure you haven't missed any. Good luck, send me a message if have any other questions.


My children got head lice a month ago. I suggest you read the CDC's website on head lice http://www.cdc.gov/lice/head/index.html
I used Nix on my children, but that did not completely get rid of the problem. We still had nits left over that hatched again. I figured out the hard way that the plastic nit combs that come with Nix and other products are basically useless. I bought a long metal nit comb from Eckerds (aka Rite Aid). It works GREAT! I think we are finally rid of everything. The best advice I read on using the metal nit comb is to first wet the child's hair and apply a bit of conditioner to make it easier to comb. Then keep a bowl of water with some dish soap in it next to you. Each time you run the nit comb through the hair, rinse it in the dish soap. This gets the nits and lice off. You will find things (lice and nits) with the metal nit comb that you will never find otherwise. I didn't realize I had gotten lice until I used the metal comb on myself. (Yuck!) I had had several people check me and no one had found anything. You really have to get every nit out to prevent reinfestation. I just used the nit comb every day on all of us, and it worked SO well. I did wash the bedding and boil all of our hairbrushes, too. (The hairbrushes and nit combs make a bigger difference than washing the bedding...with the exception of the pillow cases). The CDC and other reputable sites say not to worry about scrubbing down the house. That won't help enough to make it worth it. It's the nits you have to deal with. They are attached to the hairs with a water proof glue. Let me know if you need additional help. I'm still checking us all each day with a nit comb, so I have very recent first hand experience. Believe me, I freaked when I first found out, especially since half of us have long hair. Now that I have the right tools, it is much more manageable. Good luck.

Don't worry so much! You did not do anything wrong, and lice is not a terminal disease.. It happens to most kids at least once in their lives..
There are shampoos that take care of lice in no time, and your kids will be alright...
Hope this helps..

Go to the following site....I have read the site and have been told this stuff really works. There is stuff to buy if they have lice and shampoo to buy and use regularly to avoid getting lice. Definately worth it! I have never dealt with it and would be just as panicky as you if I had too. Good Luck!


C., you have received some good advice about not panicking, but not-so-good about what to do about it. BE VERY CAREFUL IF you have bought any of the OTC products for lice. They are highly toxic and CAN CAUSE BRAIN DAMAGE (documented by the CDC and the FDA) if left on the head too long. They are called pediculicides (Google that word) and are pesticides. Here is the link to the FDA warning! http://dermatology.about.com/cs/headlice/a/fda_lindane.htm
Do you really want that on your child’s scalp when the skin is the largest organ in your body that absorbs everything applied to it? Did you know that the leading lice shampoo contain a potent pesticide called LINDANE, which has been known to cause vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, liver damage and may cause other health issues with our kids? LINDANE has been banned in 18 countries and severely restricted in 10 others. Why are we using it on our children’s heads? The health of our children is at stake! Don’t let them be exposed to this sometimes deadly treatment when there is a natural, safe non-toxic, chemical free, and effective way to prevent and treat lice infestations. Let’s get rid of these pests once and for all in our community! What is the safe alternative? High quality pharmaceutical grade of Tea Tree Oil. You can order it wholesale from a manufacturer you can trust.
Check out my Member Perk – Go2Harmony. Call me on my cell ###-###-#### today or email me at ____@____.com! You can have it by Tuesday and I can tell you what to do in the meantime. What is it worth to protect your children?

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