There is no treatment for the prevention of lice, which means that there is no use in treating people with neither lice nor live nits.
Treatment is most effective if everyone with lice or live nits is treated on the same day. It may be difficult to determine whether the nits are dead or alive. If in doubt, consult a healthcare professional before starting treatment.
Lice and nits resist ordinary shampoos but can be eliminated with special over-the-counter treatment. It’s important to apply one of the recommended treatments as soon as you discover lice or live nits on the scalp.
There are 2 types of treatments:
- 2-step application treatments that rid of lice and nits
- 3-step application treatments that rid of lice but have little or no effect on nits
Here are recommended products:
2-step application treatments:
- NYDA® (recommended for people 2 years old and over)
- Kwellada-P® 1% or Nix® 1% (recommended for people 2 years old and over)
- Pronto® or R & C® (recommended for children less than 2 years old)
For pregnant or breastfeeding women:
- Best products: Kwellada-P® 1% or Nix® 1%
- Also recommended: Pronto® or R & C®
Note: Even if treatment against lice is considered safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women and their children, they should consult a doctor before any treatment.
3-step application treatments:
- Zap® or Resultz® (recommended for people 2 years old and over)
Kwellada-P® 1% and Nix® 1% hair treatment products are less effective if you use a conditioner, silicone-based products or vinegar in your hair. Do not use these products shortly before a treatment with Kwellada-P® 1% and Nix® 1%, and wait 2 days after the treatment before using them. For more information, talk to a pharmacist or contact Info-Santé 811.
It is strongly discouraged to use products for pets.
Apply product following instructions on the product label. Then dry the hair with a towel or dryer.
- 9 days after first application if using a 2-step treatment
- 7 days after first application and 7 days after second application if using a 3-step treatment
Note: Application of anti-louse products may cause itchiness or a light burning sensation of the scalp.
You must also inspect the head and remove lice and nits with a fine comb on the second, eleventh and seventeenth day after first application of treatment. See the Scalp Inspection and Removing Nits sections for further instructions.
Live lice 17 days after starting of the treatment
If you find live lice 17 days after the 1st application, start over with another product containing different active ingredients.
Avoid using one product after another with similar active ingredients. This may cause the lice to become resistant and reduce the effectiveness of a 2nd treatment.
As such, if the 1st product you used was one of the following:
- Kwellada-P® 1%
- Nix® 1%
- R & C®
do a 2nd treatment with one of these products:
There are no restrictions regarding use of other products, though you must definitely use a different product for a 2nd treatment.
For info on what 2nd treatment to use on children less than 2 years old or for pregnant or breastfeeding women, ask a doctor, pharmacist or nurse.
After the use of anti-louse treatment, it is important to remove live nits from the hair in order to avoid the hatching of new lice.
To remove the nits more easily, apply a humid towel to the scalp for at least 30 minutes. Then untangle your hair with a comb.
Make sure you have a fine comb, good lighting and have easy access to hot water so that you can rinse the comb with each comb-through. If possible, also use a magnifying glass to help you.
To remove nits:
- Part the hair into thin sections about the width of the fine comb. If the hair is very long, split in 2 cm locks
- Comb through each section of the hair starting from as close to the scalp as possible until the hair tips
- Inspect the hair by sections from one side of the scalp to the other, and from the hairline to the back of the neck, paying particular attention to the back of the ears and the neck
- Rinse comb with hot water after every section to remove nits stuck to it. Remove stubborn nits with your nails or tweezers. Catch the nits and slide them off the hair
Wash your hands when finished removing nits.
Removing nits and using anti-louse treatment increase your chances of getting rid of lice and nits.
If you find lice or nits on the eyebrows, apply a thick coat of petroleum jelly (Vaseline® or Lacri-lube®). This stops the lice from moving and suffocates nits, preventing them from hatching. Remove the lice and nits with your nails or tweezers. Repeat procedure 2 to 4 times over the course of a week.
Cleaning personal effects
It is unlikely that lice is transmitted through personal effects (bedding, combs, hairbrushes, hats, caps, etc.). However, you can treat these objects as follows:
- Soak personal effects in undiluted anti-louse shampoo for 5 to 10 minutes
- Soak personal effects in hot water with a temperature of about 65 ˚C for 5 to 10 minutes
- Put clothing items in dryer on hot setting for 20 minutes
- Dry clean the clothes
- Store personnel effects in an airtight plastic bag for 10 days, which is the average time for nits to hatch
Use a vacuum to clean carpets and sofas.
It is strongly discouraged that you spray your house or furniture with insecticide. Insecticides are not only ineffective in eliminating lice, they can also be harmful to your health and that of your pets.
Last update: August 22, 2018