What are Head Lice?
Head lice are small, wingless
insects about the size of a sesame seed which infest the
hair. Head lice are clear in color when hatched, then
develop a reddish-brown color after feeding.
Head lice lay their eggs (nits)
close to the scalp but can be found anywhere on the hair
shaft. The nits are small, yellowish-white, and oval-shaped
and are attached to the side of a hair shaft usually less
than a half inch from the scalp. Most often nits can be seen
in the hair behind the ears or the nape of the neck.
It takes about 7-10 days for nits to hatch and another 7-10
days for the female to mature and begin laying her own eggs.
Infestation with head lice is not a health hazard or a sign
of uncleanliness and is not responsible for the spread of
Lice need the blood of human beings to survive. In most
cases, head lice will not survive for more than 24-48 hours
off of its human host. The nits (eggs) live for about 10
days away from the body.
Usually, the first indication of an infestation is
itching or scratching of the scalp. Scratching at the back
of the head or around the ears should lead to an examination
for head lice.
Transmission of head lice can occur by direct
contact with and infested individual or by sharing
clothing, combs, brushes, or bedding. In addition,
placing clothing worn by someone who has lice in a
shared clothing storage compartment or locker may
also result in head lice spread.
Head lice can be spread as long as lice or eggs
remain alive on the infested person or clothing
Pets do not carry human lice.
Most head lice and their eggs can be
killed with a variety of lice shampoos and
lotions that can be purchased without a
prescription from any drug store. Follow the
product directions carefully; all of the
lice shampoos/lotions can be toxic when
Check all household members and close
contacts of the person infested with lice.
For products other than Nix® do not treat a
person if you do not see lice/nits in their
Nix® can be used preventatively for
household members of infested persons
In general, hair should be washed with a
mild shampoo that contains no cream rinse or
conditioners. Rinse and towel dry. Then,
apply the agent (i.e., Nix® ) as directed.
- A vinegar and water rinse
(equal parts) may be used before
the Nix® creme rinse to help
remove the nits ~ use vinegar
only before Nix® , never after.
- Apply Nix® creme rinse
taking care to keep it out of
the eyes. Let it remain on the
hair for 10 minutes. If Nix®
gets in the eyes, flush it out
with water immediately.
- Rinse the Nix® out of the
hair with clean water. Do this
over a sink. Do not use in a
bathtub or shower as this would
cause unnecessary contact with
- Use a clean towel to dry the
hair and section off the hair.
- Comb the hair from the scalp
to the end of the hair with a
clean lice comb (i.e.,
LiceMeister™). With the comb and
your finger nails, remove ALL of
the nits -- refer to LiceMeister™
Comb handout. DO NOT SHAMPOO FOR
24 HOURS AFTER USING THE Nix®
- DO NOT use shampoos
rinse or hair products such as
mousse, gel, hair spray, hair
coloring, mayonnaise or vinegar
for two weeks after using Nix®.
Using these hair products may
weaken the action of the Nix®
Chlorine in pool water may also
weaken the action of the Nix® creme
rinse and should be avoided for two
weeks after using Nix®.
None of the lice shampoos will
kill 100% of the nits.
All nits must be removed manually
(i.e., comb/fingernails) to prevent
them from hatching and infesting a
child or family again. Manual
removal of all nits is crucial.
You may need to retreat again
after 7-10 days, but this is not
usually necessary as most products
are highly effective. Itching may
continue for up to one week after