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How to tell if the nits are dead after a treatment

Updated April 17, 2017

Getting rid of nits can be a time-consuming and frustrating process. They used to be relatively simple to get rid of using shampoo treatments. Unfortunately, nits and head lice have built up a resistance to these products, so they're not always all killed. To ensure you don't get a reinfestation, it's important to make sure all the nits are dead after a treatment. It only takes one nit to mature and lay more eggs to start off the whole process again, so check after every treatment.

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  1. Ensure that what you are looking for is actually nits. It is common to mistake dandruff or pieces of fluff for an infestation. Use a magnifying glass to examine the head. Nits are oval shaped and should be stuck to the hair quite firmly.

  2. Look in the right area of the hair. Head lice prefer the nape of the neck and around the ears, so start your search there. Nits are usually located on a single hair shaft, around a quarter of an inch away from the scalp. If no adult lice are found, and the nits are located farther down the hair, it means the infestation is most likely over.

  3. Check the colour of the nits you find. If they are white, it means they are either hatched or dead. If they are coffee-coloured, it means they are still alive.

  4. Ensure the infestation is completely gone by using an electric nit comb. Available at most chemists, the electric comb beeps when it comes into contact with a nit and electrifies it immediately. This way you can be positive that you've killed every single one.

  5. Tip

    Combing hair with a fine-toothed lice comb is one of the most effective ways to get rid of an infestation, but it must be done regularly for it to work properly. To prevent reinfestation, keep long hair tied back. Wash the lice comb in ammonia between uses to prevent spreading the head lice.

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Things You'll Need

  • Magnifying glass
  • Lice comb

About the Author

Based just outside London, Holly Thompson has been writing news and features since 2008. She reported for the award-winning "Surrey Mirror" for two years during which she sourced stories for "The Sun." Thompson was the winner of the Sheffield Star prize for outstanding writing in 2008. She holds a first-class Bachelor of Arts in journalism studies from the University of Sheffield.

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