Topic Overview

Lice eggs (nits) stick to the hair and can be hard to remove. After treatment, some nits may survive. You don't have to remove all of the nits. But some people use a comb to remove nits after using lice medicine, because they don't like the look of nits in the hair.

The recommended way to treat lice is to use over-the-counter medicated creams, lotions, or shampoos that kill lice. After you rinse the medicine from your hair, you can use a fine-toothed comb to remove nits. The combs are often packaged with over-the-counter lice shampoos. A flea comb that's made for dogs and cats will also work. This is called wet combing. Comb for at least 15 minutes (until you find no more lice or eggs).

If two treatments of medicine do not kill the lice, you can try wet combing every few days. This process can take a lot of time, and you must make sure to get every louse and all eggs. Stop 2 to 3 weeks after the last session in which you found an adult louse.


Other Works Consulted

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010). Parasites: Lice. Available online:


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics
Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics

Current as ofMay 4, 2017