How to Break the Lice Life Cycle

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Break the lice life cycle.
Break the lice life cycle. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

If head lice are a problem in your household, you need to break their life cycle in order to eradicate them. Head lice are tiny bugs that nest in the hair and feed off a host's blood. They crawl from one host to another, and are often spread by combs, hats or jackets. Head lice live for 30 days on average, and can lay up to 300 eggs, or nits, in that time. Head lice are common among school children, especially in elementary schools, and can be tough to eliminate. The key to getting rid of these pests is persistence.

Things You'll Need

  • Denorex shampoo
  • Fine-tooth comb
  • Olive oil

To directly treat hair, you have two options. The first option is to lather the hair and scalp with olive oil and cover with a shower cap or plastic covering. Let this remain on the head for 2 to 4 hours, then remove shower cap or plastic bag and wash out the oil. Completely washing out the oil may take a few washes.

The second option is washing the hair with Denorex or another lice-killing shampoo. Apply the shampoo to the hair and scalp, and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. This will kill the lice, but is not guaranteed to kill all of them.

The most effective way to break the lice life cycle is to remove all the nits, which will require the hair to be thoroughly combed. Nits can be very hard to see, as they are oval-shaped and close to beige in color, which makes them difficult to see in most hair. Nits are usually very close to the scalp, and require a fine-toothed comb to remove. Part the hair into small sections, combing one section at a time. Continue with this until all sections are combed and no nits are remaining.

Perform a thorough housecleaning. Wash all your clothes, sheets, combs and brushes. Place toys in a plastic bag for at least two weeks.

Repeat all the steps in 7 to 10 days.

Tips & Warnings

  • Must still comb nits out!

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