Head lice

Updated 21 April 2016

How to comb out head lice

Sometimes combing out head lice is a really good way to get rid of the nits. Here's how to do it.

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Even if you use products to prevent and treat head lice infestations, the good old combing technique is a great way to ensure you get them all out.

Wash the hair with an ordinary shampoo and conditioner and leave wet.

With a fine-toothed comb, stroke slowly outward from the roots through one lock of hair at a time. 

Lice will land on the back of the comb, get caught between the teeth, or fall off. Space at least 30 strokes over the head.

Read: What are head lice?

Repeat every three days. Because new-born lice do not lay eggs for the first week, all lice should disappear after about two weeks of combing.

To eliminate all lice and successfully prevent re-infection, wash all clothing, towels and bed linen in hot, soapy water, and dry them in a hot dryer. 

You can also disinfect bedding and other items such as hats and clothing by placing them in a sealed plastic bag for 14 days; the nits will hatch in about a week and die of starvation.

Brushes and combs can be disinfected by soaking them in hot, soapy water for 10 minutes.

Types of head lice combs

If you visit your chemist, you'll find an array of head lice combs available, from and some work better than others.

If you can, try to find a metal comb with long teeth that are tightly packed - they work better than the plastic ones. 

Read: Causes of head lice 

Also look for the Robi Comb, that works on dry hair and is battery-powered. The Robi Comb emits a high pitched buzzing when operating and when it finds lice in the hair, an electrical circuit is completed between the teeth of the comb.

The buzzing stops, and the battery sends a shock through the little guys, killing them or stunning them temporarily. It is not hurtful to the child at all. 

It's advised to comb the hair with a regular lice comb to ensure you remove all last traces of head lice and nits. To prevent further infestation, consider spraying a natural product such as Thursday plantation tea tree oil onto the hair. 

Read more: 

Watch out for back-to-school head lice  

Treating head lice  

Toddler dies after DIY lice treatment 

 

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