Aa
A
A
A
Close
Parenting Young Adults (18-26) Community
95 Members
Avatar universal

Please describe your experience with head lice infestation (pediculosis).

Picture of head liceThree different types of lice infest people.Head LiceThe head louse is a grey-white animal about 2 mm-3 mm in length (about the size of a sesame seed). The life span of the female louse is about one month. During this time, she will produce between seven to 10 eggs ("nits") per day and attach them firmly to the hair shaft region close to the scalp or body. These grayish-white nits, which resemble dandruff, are attached with a cement-like, water-insoluble substance that makes them difficult to remove. After six to 10 days, the oval-shaped nits hatch as nymphs and become adults in 10 days.Head lice are the most common form of lice infestation. The U.S. CDC reports that 6-12 million people in the United States are infested each year. Children aged 3-11 years in preschool, elementary school, and day care centers are most likely to have lice. All socioeconomic classes are affected. Girls are more commonly infested, but hair length or personal hygiene are not predictive factors. Due to unique hair characteristics, African Americans are less commonly bothered by head lice.Head-lice transmission is most commonly via direct head-to-head contact. Sharing pillows, caps, headphones, and combs/brushes are notorious ways to transmit head lice. Since the head louse dies due to dehydration within two days if not feeding on their human host, contact with carpeting and couches is less commonly seen as a route of transmission. Most lice infestations are asymptomatic (meaning they cause no symptoms). However, if symptoms are present, itching of the scalp, neck, and behind the ears are the most common complaints. Intense scratching may lead to secondary skin infections (for example, impetigo) and associated enlargement of the lymph nodes of the neck and scalp regions.The diagnosis is made by demonstration of the adult lice or nits. Nits are more easily seen when examined using a Wood's light ("black light") that causes them to fluoresce as pale blue objects attached to the hair shafts near the scalp. A fine-tooth comb run through the hair will also demonstrate adult lice and nits.Body LiceThe body louse is slightly larger than the head louse but has the same general appearance. Unlike the head louse, which lives on its human host, the body louse lives in clothing (commonly in the seamed areas) and then transfers to the human host to feed. The life cycle of the head louse and the body louse are similar in character and duration. An important difference, however, is the ability of the body louse to survive for up to 30 days away from its human host.Body-lice infestation is a prominent public health problem in communities with large populations dealing with poverty, overcrowding, and poor personal hygiene. Reused mattresses and bed linens as well as communal beds are risk factors.Itching is the primary symptom of body-lice infestation. Areas where seams of clothing are tightly adherent to the body are the most likely areas of involvement. Waistband lines, and axillary and bra strap regions, are examples of where excoriation (crusts, abrasions, or scabbing) from scratching is commonly noted. Red, itchy bite marks may be seen on the body.The diagnosis of body lice involvement can be made by identifying lice or nits in clothing, bedding, or linens -- especially in the seam regions.Bedbugs are related to lice. They hide among sheets, blankets, and in furniture and really do bite during the night when they seek a warm body for a meal. They usually leave brown or black markings on the bed linens and bite in rows, often leaving three or more linear bite marks.Pubic LiceThe pubic louse ("crab louse") is distinct morphologically (somewhat rounded with three pairs of legs on either side of the body from which it takes its descriptive name) from the head and body louse. The female life span is slightly shorter (three weeks), and she produces fewer eggs per day (three) than her counterparts. The eggs attach to the base of the pubic hair shaft for approximately six to eight days before hatching.In adults, pubic lice is transmitted by direct sexual contact; children generally contact the infection via nonsexual transmission from their parents. (Sexual transmission is possible in cases of sexual abuse.) Transmission by bed linens and infested clothing is less likely and doubted by some.Intense itching of the pubic area is characteristic. Axillary regions, eyelashes, and even the scalp may be involved. Nighttime symptoms are may be more intense. After being bitten, a bluish-colored sore may develop in the involved areas. The diagnosis is established by demonstration of crab-shaped lice attached to the hair shaft. Consideration of infection by other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) should be entertained in any adult with pubic lice. Condoms do not prevent pubic-lice infestation. Contrary to popular thinking, pubic lice are not spread by toilet seats.
39 Responses
Avatar universal
A lot of what I read about lice is false from my experience. My grandchildren came here with lice about 6 months ago. I have been trying to get rid of them ever since. They managed to get rid of them but, I can't. I have tried everything. They say they don't crawl on you and that is bull. I can feel them crawl up my body and eventually get into my hair. I have no nits. As soon as I feel them I brush my hair over the tub. I see one crawling in the bath tub. Yesterday I brushed one off my back and saw it crawling around. I have washed and dried everything, cleaned my carpet, vacuumed, ironed my bed and my couch, have stuff in plastic bags, wrapped my whole couch in plastic, washed my curtains, have my scatter rugs still in bags for 3 months. I unwrapped my couch and got attacked. Rid, or any of the over the counter shampoos do not work, I even had the Dr give me 2 different types of prescription medicine. I follow the directions. I have even put kerosene on my head, and Malathion to the point I had to call 911. I have sprayed my house a million times. The only thing that kills them is vinegar. So, now I have sprayed my couch with pure vinegar and carpet and myself. I have a rash from all the stuff, my head is dry. I have tried home remedies; basil oil, peroxide, alcohol, olive oil, tea tree oil, Eucalyptus oil, peppermint, oregano and other spices made into tea. Some work. People have checked my hair and there are no nits/eggs. Vaselined my hair, baby oil, olive oil and left it on all night. Sleep with my pillow wrapped in plastic. Change my pillow cases nightly; wash my brushes 4 times a day in boiling water and alcohol for 1/2 hr. So the theory that they die within so many days is bull. My couch was covered for months and I did not sit on it. When I unwrapped the plastic, they were still alive in there, the adults and babies. So I think someone should re evaluate their theories. I have had it. I don't even want anyone to come over. I itch at work, but no one else does. I brush the bugs off in the toilet. They have treated with their hospital stuff for lice. I am still itching. I'm lost and fed up.
Avatar universal
I am dealing with lice now. I found out Friday night that I had it. My friend (beautician) and I sat at her house for 3 hours combing my hair and getting the nits, nymphs, and adult lice out! We got thousands and thousands out of my head. I had had it about a month. I just thought I had dandruff and then it started itching worse so I called my best fiend also my hairdresser to take a look at my hair and I was defiantly infested. We got the most of them out that night. I went back over there Friday morning and we put mayo on my hair and let it set for about 30 mins. and then we combed thru it again. We got most of the remaining ones out. I'm still doing mayo on my head every night until I know for a fact that they are gone. The first night we treated we used RID then after that we put mayo on my head and let it set for awhile then washed it out and combed again. The second day we just did the mayo. Yesterday we let my hair rest and today (Monday) we are going to do another mayo treatment and leave it on my hair overnight. Then come Friday again I'm going to go get some more RID and do it again just to be on the safe side. I threw my sheets, hairbrushes, ponytail holders, clips, and everything away. I washed all blankets, vacuumed the floor, couch, mattresses repeatedly, swept the floor and moped. Hopefully this coming up weekend I'll be lice free.
Avatar universal
My sister, niece, nephews, cousins all have a history with some kind of lice and never follow thru on the complete treatment. I spend all my time cleaning my house and my hair and body every time they come over. They are also in denial of it, I'm really depressed. These lice seem to be everywhere and gets on my face which leaves bites. I do all the treatment then they're back with a visit if I forgot to put my cover in dryer or one of them riding in my car.
Avatar universal
My daughter aged 7 I believed had head lice. I treated her just in case. She still has an itchy head, but it was an absolute nightmare to wash her hair and leave for 10 minutes. She was shaking and screaming and did not want me to do it.  I did not comb through her hair as she was so distraught.
Avatar universal
My family had head lice last year around this same time last year (August). I got it all out of my family and I seemed to have gotten the worst of it. I had them under my finger nails, up my nose in my mouth before I even knew it. The doctors told me they couldn't get up my nose and in my mouth but I could feel them crawling all over my face and body at night. I cleaned everything but couldn't get it out of my couch and ended up throwing the couch away. I covered my bed with a plastic cover and vaccuumed everyday. I tried everything from over the counter to what the doctor gave me and nothing worked. I got pimples on my head, back and chest. I used olive oil in my hair overnight and it seemed to let the nits not stick to my hair so they were easier to remove.
Avatar universal
A few months ago, my child had lice. I tried the normal OTC treatment and the comb and it failed. I tried again seven days later, and it failed. A week ago, my daughter got lice again. I have to wash her bed linens in the hottest possible water. I wonder if there is an oral lice-killing treatment. My hair is down to my waist, and I am so afraid of getting lice!
Avatar universal
I combed my daughter's hair one morning and saw eggs. I recognized them I don't know how. Never had any before. So, I took her to school, phoned her teacher, we met in the nurse's room. The nurse confirmed; the nurse checked me also and she said "you don't have any." So, I took my daughter to the clinic; the treatment cost me $90; they also checked me and found zillions - over a month worth of eggs and lice. Another $75. My husband: one louse, many eggs. $75. They told me that we will need about...4-6 sessions. They told me that I need to wash daily all pillow cases, sheets, towels, to vacuuum, to shampoo our hair daily, 3 times per day, to comb the nits out; I bought $150 woth of Rid and other medical stuff, and realizing that I am about to lose my mind. I decided for all of us to get our scalps shaved. No buzz cuts. Shaved. All of us. My daughter cried a river. I was firm. I came home and gahtered EVERYHTING that was clothing and took them to the laundrymat; shampooed the carpet, couches hell just broke. Some hell we couldn't contain, for we did not know the A and Z. At school they said Nobody has any. I was mad. The same nurse who told me I have none. So, I spoke with the principal. He said, sure, we will check them again. He never did. For the next morning I checked a few of girls my daughter was sitting next in the class. Their mothers got offended and complained to the principle who in return called me. Is this the worst thing possible? of course not. However, it turns your life - for a while- upside down; my nerves were frail. I was itching, depressed, nervous, angry. We live in the 21st century, we have Kindle and humans on the Moon. What is the situation with some bugs? My daughter still goes at school with her cap on. I am terrified by the thought that this could happen again. My skin itches when I only think about it. HEEEEEEEEELP!
Avatar universal
I have been infested for several months now.  Some things seem to work for a day or two, but then everything comes back. I have been doing laundry and cleaning every day - have changed linens & clothes daily - but I still get the pinprick marks and small sores on my body, face and neck as well as the crawling sensations at certain times of the day.  The doctor has checked my hair for nits, etc. and doesn't believe I'm still infested, but every few days, I find a louse - usually so small they are only visible & identifiable with very strong magnification.  I think they must be able to survive off the body/head for long periods. And I also think there may be a variety of louse that (a) is more resistant, (b) does not infect/affect everyone (some people may have stronger immune systems against this type of thing).  No one else in my household seems to be affected.  If it were not for the fact that I have actually found/seen the lice (they look just like their pictures) I would think I was nuts.  I have tried most of the mail-away remedies, as well as the usual ones, spending a small fortune, but I can't even get as far as the "re-treat in 7-10 days" regimen because they are back almost immediately.  The weird thing is that there are no nits - I comb every day for them, other people have looked for them, but the hair shafts are always completely clean and there is just no evidence except for my symptoms and finding the occasional dead or half-dead louse.
Avatar universal
I've had lice now for 3 months, and haven't really gone out and purchased any treatments yet because at first they don't itch much and you are a bit scared of walking out of the shop with anti lice treatments and people looking at you a bit weird, but not anymore, I  just want them to go. I have crabs for sure, maybe head lice, and I keep mistaking dry flaky skin for body lice. I watched a thing a year ago and it said there's a new breed of lice that are immune to today's treatments. I hope I don't have these super lice. Anyway, a good way to cure crabs without treatments is to stay is the bath for about 2 days; they can't survive that long under water.
Avatar universal
My grandson, before I knew he had lice, lost his hair on top and sides by 80%.  I sure hope it grows back. I have washed my brains out and treated us twice.
Avatar universal
Skin So Soft!!!!!  It kills them almost instantly!!  I was ready to try everything under my kitchen and bathroom counter when my husband suggested that SSS kills mosquitoes and fleas, maybe lice?  IT DOES!!  Now, we completely spray each of our heads (whether we have them or not) every few days to make sure we take care of any eggs hatching.  Now we are working on making sure that the mattresses are not infested. We're still working on that.  At least the things aren't crawling on us anymore.  :-)
Avatar universal
I once had head lice badly as a child.  Using "standard" remedies, my hair was fried.  I don't recall how long I was out from school.  A second time I was concerned after finding a nit but I was lucky and caught it early.  A friend told me about using one part of a home perm.  I can't remember which part it was but I know it seemed to work.  I've since been told that head lice prefer clean hair/scalps.  I do not have a dirty head but I do not was my hair daily like I used to unless it is necessary.  This seems to do the trick.
Avatar universal
I AM ABOUT TO LOSE MY MIND. I HAVE BEEN FEELING BITES ALL OVER MY BODY BUT I DON'T HAVE SORES. THE BITES OCCUR ALL OVER AND HAPPEN THROUGHOUT THE DAY AND NIGHT. THE ONLY SIGN OF A BUG I HAVE SEEN WAS ONE YESTERDAY BUT THE BUG WAS WHITE AND CRAWLING ACCROSS A PICTURE I JUST PICKED UP OFF THE ENTERTAINMENT CENTER. DON'T KNOW HOW IT GOT THERE. I HAVE HAD A FEW BITES ON THE BACK OF MY NECK THAT I SCRATCH AND MAKE A SORE BUT MY BOYFRIEND LOOKED AND CAN'T SEE ANY LICE. WE RECENTLY BOUGHT SOME USED CHAIRS FROM A THRIFT STORE ABOUT THREE WEEKS AGO. I STARTED NOTICING THE BITES ABOUT A WEEK AND A HALF AGO. I DO HAVE TWO DOGS THAT ARE INSIDE DOGS BUT I BATHE THEM AND TREAT THEM FOR FLEAS REGULARLY. WE HAVE SEEN A FEW FLEAS ON THEM AFTER A BATH BUT THEY WERE DEAD AND VERY FEW. I CAN'T SEE WHATS BITING ME BUT I KNOW I AM NOT CRAZY. PLEASE HELP ME! WHAT COULD THIS BE AND HOW CAN I GET RID OF THEM?
Avatar universal
My husband and I had gotten head lice (never had them as children ) from my husband's nephew who brought his daughter to visit, knowing full well (we found out later) she had head lice 2 different times that her mother did not treat successfully.  Well, I overdid the treatments on us both because I was so distraught and panicky.  I think we were probably well over them, looking back, but had the lasting itching from using many boxes of the "poison" which I would not do obsessively if it happened again.  The stuff was so hard on our scalps, we had scalp scabs for a long time afterward. I'd say use a natural lice shampoo, and a very good fine lice comb,(not the cheap ones they give you in the boxes ) .
Avatar universal
I have been reading these comments that have been submitted and can't believe what I am reading. I wonder if some of these cases are really lice or flees. I have worked as a nurse in the school district for 16 years and have seen my share of lice but nothing like I have been reading here. I have seen heads full of nits and live lice, which I usually find on base of scalp and around hairline. I personally have never had lice, so I know that they don't jump or fly, but they do crawl, that's why they hide so well. Most parents I talk with use the OTC meds one time, and if that doesn't work I suggest using olive oil on head for about 2 hours covered with plastic wrap, & of course clean clean clean house.
Avatar universal
When I Was Younger, I Had head lice. it was a nightmare!! my mom had brought some kit that kills them at  Walgreens, that Sorta did the trick. But now im in middle school and now students at my school have head lice! I'm Paranoid by this, they havent checked me yet but hopefully i dont get them again, Im Starting To check my hair daily & Now wash it for about 2 days. They Told us not to share sweaters,Head bands or anything. like that, Don't hug, Pull our Hair up.   This Nightmare has to end!
Avatar universal
i need to know of any thing i can try for head lice has done all the over the counter and doctor prescribed i have thrown away everything and just bought new things nothing works they dont go away can someone help me?
Avatar universal
or am so freaked out by this only these other people are the same way! My story,I started to  itch and i should have known right away but at the time my husband had just passed away and my kids moved on in and needlesse spots on my hair to say my son and his wife and 2 kids had them and never said a word...nasty thing to have done as this is driving me literally insane. I did almost everything these people were doing,to bedin with I asked my DIL and my daughter to check my head,they found noyhing but in the light while brushing my hair it looked like a billion silvery little shiny spots on my hair,I asked wow what is that,they thought it was just my hair as I dye it (which BTW doesnt kill them)I actually think it made it worse,but then the lil ones started to itch,got the treatments from Drs. Well on my head it seemed like they had hatched and white stuff eeverywhere!!I know I am infested,called Drs. gave me same stuff again,told them it didnt work,same. Went and got kit with the spray by rid,still wake up with way more,zi really think I am goin crazy..
Avatar universal
Found I had fleas or so I thought.  I am still in the progress of eliminating the lice.  Didnt know at first what these strange little but skinny and long bugs were and last night thought I had picked off dandruff but when I did research today found that it could have been a nit.  I had used mayo whether it helped or not wouldnt know.  I soaked my head in olive oil and covered with a shower cap for 3 hours.  A lot of dead stuff on my hair strands.  Finally shaved my head and I mean shaved.  Yesterday felt something crawling on my scalp and I washed my head with dish liquid and drained the liquid into a bowl and there was a dead lice.  I decided to shave my head with a razor to the skin and as I shaved a dead lice fell off my head.  Dish liquid seems to work but either I am not getting the nits or they are elsewhere in the house.  I have been washing and bagging up everything.  I am going to bomb/indoor fogger my apartment today and hope it kills them.  This fogger says they kill lice.
Avatar universal
can you swim in the pool when you have treated your child the day before?
Avatar universal
I am losing patience with this. I have a feeling as if stuff is crawling on me. My face, ears, eyelashes and skin feel like they're crawling. I've tried lice shampoos, vinegar, Listerine, permethrin and stromectol. I'm tired of cleaning and washing.
Avatar universal
I'm plagued by head lice. Following are my solutions. Cloth items that aren't needed go into garbage bags. Use dryer multiple times with light loads, high heat. Change clothing/bedding and immediately wash. Cloth compress on problem areas (soak 20 to 30 minutes) with 3 parts peroxide and 2 parts water. Spray up the nostril and ears and also use the solution with laundry. Day/night Vaseline or coconut oil, use lots on eyebrows. Don't scratch. While in shower use the stream of water to flush out your nose (use as hot of water as you can without hurting yourself). Could also try flushing your nose out with oil to smother them.
Avatar universal
About 1 week after treating my kid's head lice infestation without wearing gloves, I started to notice the tips of my nails hurt like I had cut them too close, but I did not trim them at all. It got so bad I could no longer open simple things. They will embed into any part of your body so when treating oil up to your elbows. I tried everything and nothing worked. By chance I was cutting meat for my 3 year old and felt an immense pressure release from my thumb. A long thing that looked the size of 1 hair came out.
Avatar universal
I have had head and body lice for 3 months now. I tried Nix Ultra super lice and Clearlice - all natural and very expensive, mayonnaise, olive, oil, and lice comb that zaps them. I went to the doctor and she gave me prescription for permethrin and oral ivermectin 2 doses. I just treated myself again last and they are back since yesterday. I boil water and pour over bedding and clothes in my washer, boil water and put combs and brushes in sink and pour over them and leave them. I'm ready to scream or shave my head. Cut hair short!
2
Have an Answer?
Top Parenting Answerers
13167 tn?1327194124
Austin, TX
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Fearing autism, many parents aren't vaccinating their kids. Can doctors reverse this dangerous trend?
Learn which over-the-counter medicines are safe for you and your baby
Yummy eats that will keep your child healthy and happy
6 essential foods for new moms (and their newborns!)
What to expect in your growing baby
Learn which foods aren't safe to eat when you're eating for two.