How to Get Rid of Lice Forever

by Kimberly Caines ; Updated September 28, 2017

Lice are especially common in children.

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Having lice is not an indication of poor hygiene or uncleanliness. The annoying condition that causes intense itching is contagious; you can get lice by coming in contact with a person that has lice, or by using their comb or bedding. Lice feed on blood and even though they cannot jump, they can quickly crawl from one host to another. They lay eggs in your hair, which can quickly result in an infestation. To combat lice and to eliminate them forever, proper treatment is required.

Use an over-the-counter lice shampoo or lotion on your hair, following the product's instructions. Commercial lice treatments kill all stages of lice, but may need to be repeated to get the best results.

Check hair for lice and eggs approximately eight hours after the lice treatment. Wear latex gloves and place the infected person under a bright light. Part the hair and use a magnifying glass to examine it. Look for tan, light brown or white specks near the roots or the hair. These are either lice or lice eggs.

Use a prescription lice treatment, following the product's instructions, if lice are persistent. Prescription lice treatments are stronger than over-the-counter remedies.

Comb out any lice and eggs that are left behind. Wear latex gloves and sit the infected person under a bright light. Wet the hair with water to immobilize any lice left behind. Use a fine-tooth metal comb to part the hair into small sections. Comb the hair from the roots all the way down to the tips. Lice need their hosts to live; once they fall off the hair, they won't survive much longer.

Soak combs, brushes, hair ties and hair bands in rubbing alcohol or wash them with hot water to eliminate any lice still on them. Throw them out if you can do without them.

Check the hair for lice and nits approximately one week after the first prescription treatment to make sure all lice were eliminated. Comb out any lice and eggs if needed, and repeat the prescription treatment.

Wash contaminated bedding and clothing in hot water that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Tumble the items for 20 minutes in a dryer set to the hot cycle. The hot water and air eradicates all life stages of lice. Place contaminated items that can't be washed or dry cleaned in a sealed plastic bag for two weeks to kill any remaining lice.

Vacuum your house, car and any upholstered furniture thoroughly to eliminate any lice and lice remnants.


  • Consult your doctor when you first discover lice. Your doctor may recommend a commercial or prescription treatment depending on the severity of the infestation.

    Have family members, friends and classmates check themselves for lice also, because if the source of the problem still persists, the infestation can repeat itself.

    Commercial and prescription lice treatments are usually meant to be used on children ages 3 and older. Lice in younger children must be combed out.

    Treat pubic lice in the same manner as head lice. Use commercial or prescription head lice treatments and cleanse bedding, furniture, clothing and combs accordingly.

    Body lice don't require treatment, but the cleansing of clothing, furniture and bedding is needed.

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