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Dealing with head lice is a pain, but can be done


October 4, 2017

Dear Abigail,

Some of my friends recently contracted lice, and I was wondering what the best methods were for treating them. How do you look for nits? What are some places in the area you can go to get supplies?


The Friend Without Lice


Dear the Friend Without Lice,

I am so sorry to hear about your friends contracting lice! While it is a very unfortunate thing that can happen, it is also very common and nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s just one of the things that happens when you hang out in people’s dorm rooms!

When it comes to treating head lice, one product isn’t necessarily better than another. Your friends just need to be very thorough with the entire process. The first thing they should do is to go the store and get some kind of topical product that will work to kill the lice.  Walgreens on Main Street has a variety of lice treatment products in stock right now. It’s best to have an extra set of hands to help apply the product and be sure to follow the directions of whatever product they purchased as best as you can.

When it comes to nits, which are the eggs that grow into the adult lice that crawl around your head and feed off your blood, it is best to use a fine tooth comb to brush them out. They are usually attached at the base of the hair, so try to comb as closely to the root as possible and then pull the comb all the way through the hair and clean it off before brushing through the hair again. If a fine tooth comb wasn’t included in the product you purchased, then you should be able to find one for a couple of dollars that you can add on to your purchase. While the product is processing on the scalp the real work begins.

Anything that is fabric needs to be washed. Everything. Blankets, pillows, their mom’s sweater they borrowed and never gave back, the stuffed animal they’ve had since they were three, and basically anything else that could have possibly touched their head since it became infested with lice. Head lice is usually spread person to person by sharing cloth items. This is the best way to make sure they don’t fail to kill all the lice on their head, and then snuggle up on bed and give lice back to themselves. If they do have items like a couch that can’t be washed, the best course of action is to avoid touching the couch for 2-3 days. This will give any lice on the couch time to die off and then you can remove them by vacuuming.

Good luck!


Abigail Erickson is a student at UW-River Falls.