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Lice: Removing Nits From Hair

Topic Overview

Lice eggs stick to the hair and can be hard to remove. It is possible that if some eggs survive treatment and are not removed from the hair, they may persist.

Wet combing is an option for people who can't use lice medicines or choose not to use them. Also, some people use a comb to remove eggs after using lice medicine on the hair or just because they don't like the look of lice and eggs in the hair.

You can try wet combing to remove eggs and lice:

  • Wet your hair and add conditioner, vinegar, or olive oil. Then comb your hair with a fine-toothed comb. Comb for at least 15 minutes (until you find no more lice.) Repeat this process every few days. Stop 2 to 3 weeks after the last session in which you found an adult louse.
  • If you are using medicine to kill lice, you can use a fine-toothed comb after you've rinsed the medicine from your hair. The combs are often packaged with over-the-counter lice shampoos. A flea comb that's made for dogs and cats will also work.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Primary Medical Reviewer Andrew Swan, MD, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Last Revised November 5, 2012
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