Head Lice Questions (FAQ)
Your questions answered
How can you tell if you have head lice?
Scratching the head because it feels itchy. This only happens when a person is allergic to louse saliva (lice puncture the skin and inject their saliva to keep the blood from coagulating).
A sensation that something is crawling in your hair; this might not itch, but can be a very uncomfortable feeling.
Tiny bites, above and behind the ears, the nape of the neck, or, when girls have longer hair, on the shoulders. It can look like a rash as the bites are so small.
White or cream coloured dots the shape of a teardrops at the top of the hair shaft, within two to three centimetres of the scalp. If they are well and truly stuck and will only move when slid down the hair shaft with tweezers or nails then this is definitely head lice or nits. Dandruff will flick off easily.
Sometimes head lice will run out of the hair across the forehead, although they tend to stay within the hair as they use their claws to grab on to the hair strand.
On items such as pillows, duvets and hats, head lice will appear as tiny black specks.
How to check and comb for head lice and eggs?
NitNot recommend using a clear conditioner onto clean dry hair, immersing all of the hair, including all the wispy bits around the hair line, and completely covering the scalp.
Firstly, prepare yourself for combing by wearing short sleeves and a shower cap or hat to protect your own hair. Then sit in a comfortable chair such that you are eye-level.
Sit by a bright light and use of a magnifying glass or mobile app to see the tiny head lice, lice eggs and nits
Comb the clear conditioner throughout the hair with a large toothed comb to further distribute the conditioner and also to get rid of all tangle and knots.
Use a hairdressing metal pin comb to separate the hair into sections – how many will depend on how thick the hair is – and use big enough clips to keep hair secure in each section. Remember to use straight lines.
Let down one section at a time. Using the metal pin comb take out a small sliced section at the bottom of the hairline. You will be working in an upwards direction. Secure the rest of the section back up and out of your way.
Position the teeth of the lice comb at the very top of the hair shaft and rest on the scalp at a 16-degree angle, pull the comb down the length of the hair from the root to the end of the hair and slide off the hair at the bottom. At NitNot, we will comb using the same method at four angles: north, south, east and west of down the hair.
When combing after each downward stroke wipe the clear conditioner on a white towel/tissue and look for little brown and tan flecks and tiny little lice bugs (up to the size of a sesame seed).
Keep combing until the conditioner on the towel is clear of specks or lice.
Have a look at the section just combed and if any lice eggs or nits are found use a tweezer to slide down the hair shaft and off the hair.
Work in a methodical manner, completing one section before moving to another. Keep the cleared sections away from hair that has not been treated.
When complete take the sections down and comb where the partings were.
When the hair is down comb through all the hair from forehead back and from each side of the head and towards the other side.
Wash out the conditioner and check the water for any lice debris.
Sterilize the combs and put clips and bands in a plastic bag after washing. Do not use and for at least three days.
If using the combing method with conditioner to remove lice and eggs, you must comb every 3 to 4 days until the entire infestation has been removed. This can take up to a month depending on the severity of the infestation.
To prevent further infestations, check hair once a week when washing by using the lice comb and wiping on a white tissue/towel.
What should I do when I find head lice or nits?
It is never a pleasant thing to find in your families hair, but head lice do adore loving families that hug and cuddle. Because they get around because of hair to hair contact and have no preference for type of hair. We are ALL likely to get head lice at some point.
You have two options either visit our clinic and we will deal with the problem for you or treat at home DIY style. We recommend our NitNOT Anti Head Lice Serum available on our product page.
Why use a professional head lice removal clinic?
Make an appointment and leave all your frustration behind you. In a matter of a couple of hours, we will have put together a plan, as well as treated and informed you about how to prevent lice coming back. We ask you back for a check to put your mind at rest that they have all gone.
NitNot can save you time. You can spend hours applying treatments and combing can go on for hours, back aching and wrists hurting, the kids getting agitated – if only it was the beautiful bonding time we are promised in certain parent magazines.
Peace of mind – Just knowing that the head lice are going to be removed from your family is such a weight lifted off your shoulders. Also, the fact that NitNot do not use pesticides and only opt for natural and non-toxic methods for removing head lice permanently from your hair and scalp.
Information – Having the facts given to you and the myths dispelled makes it easy for you to prevent getting head lice and nits in your family. Explaining what we do, how we do it and why we treat head lice with a 100% guarantee.
Wellbeing – It can certainly be a very stressful time when you have head lice and nits. There is a constant up and down of thinking you have resolved the problem, only to find out a couple of days later that the lice and nits are back again. Coming to NitNot means that you can start to enjoy your hair and your sanity again. Some people endure sleepless nights from the bites or the feeling of them roaming around your scalp.
Effectiveness – At NitNot we are 100% effective at killing head lice and eggs. We are trained and experienced and we have a proven method that works using the latest technology.
Safety – This is paramount. We know what we are using is not harmful to skin, eyes, breathing… the list could go on. It is difficult to know by reading the side of the box what exactly you are buying and applying to your loved ones.
Honesty – We offer a transparent service. We will be open about what we will do to remove the head lice and eggs, how long it will take, and how much it will cost. And we back this up with a guarantee you can trust.
NitNot treat every client as an individual and give a 100% guarantee that all live eggs and lice will be killed – with a guarantee you can trust.
What is the best head lice treatment to use at home?
NitNOT Complete Solution Head Lice & Egg Serum, is a pure 100% dimethicone treatment that kills head lice, super lice and eggs, safely and effectively.
It is hypoallergenic and is free from perfumes and harmful additives. It works on all stages of head lice as it stops the lice from releasing its bodily fluids causing almost instant death, it also prevents the eggs from developing.
Application is quick & easy, the nozzle ensures every louse and egg is caught. There is also an easy-to-follow video instruction see back of label.
Not only is NitNOT certified by the government’s Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), but it’s also the only lice treatment that has been endorsed by The British Association of Professional Nannies. (BAPN).
What are the facts about head lice and nits?
NOT able to jump, fly or swim.
NOT dangerous, but are contagious (and annoying).
NOT signs of unwashed or unclean hair. They thrive on clean hair, greasy hair, unwashed hair – they are NOT fussy.
Do NOT live on pets
Do NOT live in your house (sofa, carpet, furniture, beds.
Do NOT like bed bugs, they do NOT burrow and hibernate
Do need blood to live, if they do NOT get food they perish within forty eight hours but usually much quicker.
Are NOT always detected by an itchy head as you only itch if you are allergic to their saliva when they bit you. Only 33% of the population are allergic.
What are the myths about head lice?
Children who are being treated for head lice can still attend school.
There is no evidence that head lice have a preference for either clean or dirty hair.
There is no need to treat (wash at high temperature or fumigate) clothing or bedding that has been in contact with lice, as the lifespan of a head louse is very short (1–2 days) once it is detached from a human head.
Essential oil-based treatments and herbal treatments are not recommended due to the lack of good-quality evidence on their safety and efficacy.
Prevention sprays evaporate as soon as heads get hot, leaving them without any fragrance
A head louse is genetically programmed to colonize they are not interested in the type, style or condition of hair. It is you blood they need.
Male and females are both as likely to have head lice, if in close hair to hair contact with someone that has head lice.
Vinegar, mouthwash and mayo will not kill all lice and eggs, it is the combing that is effective. NEVER put a plastic bag on anyones head for a treament to work.
You cant suffocate a head louse – if we could everyone would jump in a bath and kill them. They can shutdwon for up to sixteen hours.
It is not possible to prevent head lice infestation. Children of primary school age should be examined regularly at home (using a detection comb) to identify infestation early.
Is a head lice infestation anything to do with hygeine?
No they are not interested in the condition of the hair, they just want your blood. They have no preference for class hence royal nannies are trained to deal with head lice. Ethnicity or Gender either……they universally love us all.
Do home remedies/essential oils kill head lice and eggs?
Tea Tree Oil For Head Lice and Eggs
There is as yet no hard medical evidence that tea tree oil kills head lice or eggs in the hair, though more research is being conducted. There are many different natural products on the market that contain tea tree oil to kill lice. But, the probability is that more lice and eggs will be removed by combing than using tea tree oil. Many say that tea tree oil is good to prevent head lice, as they are not meant to like the fragrance. However, the problem with this is that when the head gets hot, the fragrance will evaporate. Other popular essential oils are lemon, lavender and cedar wood. Any essential oil must be used with care as they are very powerful and can cause skin and eye irritation.
Mayonnaise for head lice
Commercial mayo contains eggs, water, oil, salt and vinegar with different agents to keep it bound together and to stop it from going off. Mayo to kill lice will probably not work, though it may slow them down and make it a little easier to comb out. However, it will not suffocate them as they will still be able to perspire, which is how they lose their excess body fluid. It will certainly not be able to keep the eggs from maturing and thus two weeks later you may well have another infestation. On top of this, it is messy and, if you use warm water, it can curdle and resemble scrambled eggs, which I am sure will not kill head lice or eggs, but may have people moving seats from next to you on the bus.
Does Vinegar kill head lice and eggs?
The acetic acid contained in vinegar will not dissolve the exoskeleton of the shell of the egg and therefore will not kill them. Vinegar will not loosen the lice eggs and nits.
Does Vinegar Kill Head Lice
When vinegar gets in the eyes, irritation and redness are common and corneal injury can occur. The cornea is at the front of the eye. It is a clear disc which lies over the front of the coloured part of the eye and the pupil. It’s the window you see out of, and it is protected from harm.
Olive oil for lice or coconut oil can they kill lice and eggs?
Once again, to suffocate a louse would take up to ten hours, whilst oils start to break down as soon as they leave the container. Oils will quickly start separating on a warm head, especially if the scalp with lice is covered in plastic. When the oil separates it allows lice to breath and slips off the top of the lice egg, allowing oxygen to enter and other carbons to leave the egg. It is a shame, but neither olive or coconut oil kill nit eggs or head lice.
How to kill head lice naturally effectively
The only definite way is to use a proper and complete combing programme to remove all the live lice and live eggs. You need to understand the life cycle of lice and eggs to be able to stop head lice.
NitNot treat every client as an individual and give a 100% guarantee that all live eggs and lice will be killed – with a guarantee you can trust.
How long do head lice live for?
They take approximately six to seven days growing inside the egg. Once they hatch, they are called nymphs and it takes about another seven days for them to reach puberty. They then become adults and are able to mate and lay eggs. From this point. they can live up to another twenty to twenty-five days laying as many as five to eight eggs per day.
Head lice need a constant source of food (human blood) to survive, but they can live for up to forty-eight hours if they fall onto bedding or clothing. Once an infestation has been discovered in the household, there is no need to purchase sprays and tonics. The easiest thing to do is to put any coats and soft toys in a bin bag for three days to ensure that there is not a re-infestation. Bedding can be washed and tumble dried or put on a heater. Head lice are not like bed bugs in that they do not burrow into pillows and mattresses; they stay on the surface so are very easy to remove.
Are head lice dangerous?
Head lice can be annoying, irritating and sometimes people are unnecessarily embarrassed by them, but they do not directly cause disease. However, because they pierce the skin for food and carry bacteria on their bodies, they can sometimes lead to infections. The skin can be irritated by the bites and this may affect sleep. Certain chemicals in some head lice treatments can be harmful and cause reactions, which is why it is so important to use non-toxic solutions on scalps.
Is there a difference between head lice and body lice and pubic lice?
The head louse (Pediculus humanus capitus)
The body louse (Pediculus humanus humanus)
The ‘crab’, or pubic louse (Pthirus pubis)
Though all three are lice, they look, live and breed in different ways and should not be confused as being the same thing.
Body lice are slightly larger than head lice. The body louse has a longer abdomen and they are broad, with six legs of equal size. In contrast, the abdomen of the crab louse is about as wide or even slightly wider than its length, and the second and third pairs of legs are thicker than the first pair. Crab lice are much smaller than head and body lice.
Head lice are usually found in hair, most often on the back of the neck and behind the ears. Head liceare common in preschool and elementary school-age children. Adults can get them too, especially adults who live with children. They do not cause disease.
Do head lice prefer clean or dirty hair?
Head lice don’t have a preference when it comes to clean or dirty hair — they’ll get on anyone’s hair if they get the chance.
“We find that you can get head lice on almost every type of hair imaginable — thick, fine, long, curly, straight short, clean, dirty – head lice really love it all. Head lice are not a sign of poor hygiene or neglect or poor housekeeping – they are only a sign that head to head contact has been made, which is possible in sports, taking selfies or playing.
Having thick or long hair might increase your chances of picking up head lice, simply because you have more available hair. This is why it is best to keep hair tied back when in close contact with other people, for example, when playing sports or at school.
The majority of children of school age will probably get head lice at some time. The main thing to do is to regularly check by looking at the nape of the neck and above the ears for small white teardrop shapes. If you flick these drops and they remain in place then they are likely to be head lice eggs. At this point, call Nitnot and we will save you from the stress and anxiety and remove all viable head lice and eggs.
Can adults get head lice from an adult?
How quickly do head lice take to lay an egg?
If a head louse transfers onto hair if it has already been fertilized it can lay eggs immediately. Eggs once laid take approximately six to seven days to become viable and hatch. If more than one head louse has transposed to the hair they could all be at different stages thus meaning that eggs are all hatching at different times. Head lice eggs are notoriously hard to remove from the hair as they are glued to the hair with a very strong bonding agent that the mother louse produces when laying the eggs.
Why are head lice eggs and nits so difficult to comb out?
A head louse egg is made by structure to protected the louse by making the nit sheath similar in composition to the hair; thereby, agents designed to unravel the nit sheath may also damage human hair. So if treatments were made to destroy the egg they would also destroy the hair.
The colour of the egg is such that is camouflaged by the hair as the sheath has a reflective quality and though usually a white or cream colour, the reflective sheath takes on the colour of hair it is bonded to.
Research and analysis from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA has revealed that the nit sheath of the head louse is composed of 4 bands of protein. As the proteins bond together this makes the egg extremely strong and safe place to grow and unfortunately a very difficult thing to remove. The egg is so small 0.1mm that in many cases the egg is smaller than the width of the average space between teeth of most popular nit combs is 0.3mm making it virtualy impossible to remove. The majority of the time theyare also laid very close to the scalp so that they have an easy food source, this in turn of course make it even more difficult to remove. However when hair is tied back they could end up anywhere on the head – this is why it is so important to remove nits and eggs.
What is the difference between an egg and a nit?
Can my child get head lice at school?
It is not a hygiene issue as head lice thrive in clean hair.
Only 1 in 5 children will itch when they have head lice as the itchiness comes from an allergy to the saliva.
It is not a sign of neglect. On the contrary, loving families are often more prone to pass on head lice as this happens through head to head contact, e.g. cuddles, hugs and snuggling up to watch tv or read a book.
From my experience, bullying can happen when a child is known to have head lice. There are many books available explaining head lice that may help children understand it is similar to catching a cold. There are things that can be done to prevent head lice by putting hair back in pony tails or plaits, or by not sharing hats and scarves. It is almost impossible for primary children not to have head to head contact, but explaining at a level they can understand will help dispel some of the cruel myths.
How do I identify head lice and nits?
Eggs that contain a head louse are usually a caramel colour, and empty eggs (nits) should appear to be a white creamy colour.
Head lice eggs do not sit on the hair, there is a cylinder that wraps the hair and the egg sits on the cylinder. This is why eggs must be drawn down the hair and off
A louse can be so small when first born they are almost impossible to see. They grow up to about 4mm.
A nit is an empty shell and white in colour. The cap has popped off as the nymph (baby louse) leaves the egg.
Where will I find head lice in hair? Where do I look for lice and nits in the hair?
The most common places for head lice to live are around the ears, the crown of the head and the nape of the beck. They’re likely to lay their eggs close to the scalp but check along the length of the hair too.
The best way to check for head lice and nits is to separate the hair into sections so you can get a good look at both hot spots and the whole head.
Remember, if it can be easily removed with the fingers, it’s likely not a nit or an egg as they are glued to the hair making them difficult to remove.
A Professional Opinion on Head Lice
Once you’ve taken a first look at your child and suspect that it is a case of head lice, we recommend coming to a professional such as our team at Nit Not for confirmation of the diagnosis and proper treatment. Take a look at our services to learn more about how Nit Not can help you and your child
How do I support or comfort my child with head lice?
Embarrassing Head Lice
We understand that having head lice can be really embarrassing for your child, and that you don’t want to put them through any undue stress while they’re undergoing treatment for the dreaded nits. Especially if they’re the first in the school to start the infestation, your child can go through feelings of shame that can really upset them and knock their confidence.
We don’t want any child to feel as though they can’t face school or their classmates because they’re embarrassed about having nits, which is why we feel it’s important to give our parents the information they need to be able to properly support their child through an infestation of head lice.
Know The Facts About Head Lice & Nits
The truth is that at any one time, there are likely to be even one or two children at the school that are battling a head lice infestation. The levels of infestation in schools remains pretty constant throughout the year and from year to year, so your child should by no means feel like ‘patient zero’ when it comes to the spread of nits.
Head lice are really common when it comes to having young children in the family, and they don’t carry any disease or have anything to do with bad personal hygiene – there should be no shame associated with having nits and your child should be armed with the facts in case any uninformed children try to tease them.
Don’t Play The Blame Game When it Comes to Nits
As soon as you’re alerted to a case of the nits, it’s important that you don’t teach your child to point fingers at the first child to be known to have them – not only will this encourage the child to feel isolated from the rest of the class, but it simply may not be true that the head lice came from them! Head lice are sometimes not easy to detect straight away as you’ll only get itching symptoms if you’re allergic to their saliva – which isn’t always the case! Any child in the class could have had nits for a while and simply not have known.
Keep Head Lice Infestation Anonymous
The good news is that The Department for Children, Schools and Families don’t advise that pupils should be excluded from school based on a head lice infestation. This means that if your child does have head lice, it should be fairly easy to keep them anonymous if they don’t wish to be identified out of embarrassment. The teachers and staff at the school will need to know, but they’ll never be knowingly ‘outed’ based on exclusion alone.
If you’re worried about children in the class finding out that your child has nits and feel uncomfortable alerting the school yourself, we at Nit Not offer a confidential alert service that means we email the school in the strictest of confidence to let them know that a child in the school current has head lice. We will mention no client names, but by doing so the school will be able to help you to minimise the risk of the head lice spreading, or your child becoming reinfested with head lice. Learn more about our services and how Nit Not can help your child keep their self confidence while suffering with nits.