Q. I am going crazy looking for nits. My eight-year-old daughter caught lice at summer day camp and we are having an awful time getting rid of them. The camp has a no-nit policy, which means I have to search my daughter’s fine blond hair to comb out every single one. They are very hard to see!
Is there any way get rid of these nits more easily? This entire situation has been very stressful for our family. I can’t afford to leave work, drive to her camp and take her home because of nits.
I would also appreciate any suggestions for dealing with lice? We have used lice shampoo from the pharmacy with mixed results.
A. To fight lice successfully, the live lice eggs (nits) must be removed. This can be a real chore. Just distinguishing between nits and flakes of dandruff is difficult, especially on blond hair.
There is a product designed to make it easier to spot nits and comb them out. It is called Neon Nits and is a spray that dyes the eggs bright pink. Order information is available on the Web at www.neonnits.com or by calling (877) 809-0156.
An alternate way to locate live nits is with a black light. These ultraviolet lamps make nits glow in the dark. Specialty lighting stores carry black lights or you can locate one by searching the Web.
There are products to loosen the “cement” attaching nits to hair shafts. Vibrating electronic nit combs can also make nit removal easier.
When it comes to killing lice, there are lots of products on pharmacy shelves, but lice have become somewhat resistant to these chemicals. It can be a frustrating experience. Many readers of our newspaper column and visitors to this website have had surprising success with old-fashioned amber Listerine (or house brand) mouthwash.
Here are just a few stories:
“My 4th grader, Sarah, has twice a bad case of nits. Listerine works like a charm. Spray, don’t pour, cover with a shower cap as long as you can stand it–an hour or two and then wash. The fun begins with the picking out of the dead nits. I have a her put on a new movie (Red Box) while I pick.
“Although the next day there may or may not be more, I repeat the treatment. I also soak any hair items–clips, brushes–in Listerine. This is a very cheap way to treat lice and nits.
“The biggest expense is the hot water needed to wash all the bedding, dolls, stuffed animals, coats, etc. A side benefit is that Listerine makes hair soft and shiny. You will smell the Listerine every time your hair gets wet for 2 to 3 weeks. I can live with that, easily, because of the cost and the fact that I am not filling our heads with chemicals.”
“I swear by the Listerine. I used a shower cap and left it on my head for about half hour. It does start to burn if you have a sensitive scalp. I would seem to believe that it dissolves the adhesive that makes the nit hold onto the shaft as well as possibly intoxicate the louse that’s crawling?”
This from TC:
“I read about the Listerine use for lice. A bit skeptical but my oldest came in with a full blown case of lice and since I battled last year for over 6 weeks with my younger two, I decided to give it a try!
“OMGosh, I put the Listerine (regular kind the others are sticky) on her head and then put on the shower cap for 2 hrs. We then rinsed her head, combed with a regular comb and she went to bed. We didn’t get a vinegar treatment done due to the time of night.
The next morning, I checked her head and I didn’t see any lice at all. I was sure she probably had some nits but she went off to school with a tight braid. She was checked by the nurse and the nurse couldn’t find anything on her head!
“Tonight, we combed through her hair and once again, no lice. I did find a few nits but I told her to flat iron her hair and come tomorrow we would repeat the treatment for the next week until we knew for certain all the buggers were gone and so were the eggs! She has super thick, dense hair and it’s almost impossible to go through each strand to pick the nits. We will definitely add the vinegar treatment to the mix to help get the nits gone.
Thanks for the suggestion!”
If you want to learn more about various remedies to eradicate lice, search this website for LICE.
And we would love to hear your story. What has worked and what has failed? Take a minute to post a comment below that others can learn from.