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The PAIN of head lice removal

Is head lice removal painful? We performed complete head lice removal for a couple of thick/curly-haired brothers the other day.  Curious kids, they were enthralled with the science and the process related to the insects and the treatment.  However, the older of the two, a fourth grader, became quite teary during the head lice removal process and complained that it hurt. His mother called me the next day, thrilled that they were head lice free but concerned about how he’d react at the recheck and questioning if a child “feeling” the head lice comb to the extent that her son did was normal. I started to think that some might say that there is indeed some “pain” associated with head lice removal.  Specifically:

Sensitivity – scalp and hair

The mother of the boy we treated told me when she called the next day that her son has some “mild sensory things going on.” She admitted that he doesn’t have his hair combed or brushed daily because of how thick and curly it is.  I could understand, therefore, why he did indeed feel the combing.  As I’ve written many times before, we use a premier nit comb for our head lice treatments.  It’s constructed of rigid stainless steel, the tines are tight and grooved and each tooth is pointed/beveled at the end.  Non-toxic products are used to facilitate the treatments and these also function as conduits to the head lice combing.  However, Elimilice technicians do indeed apply great pressure and speed in combing which is truly necessary to remove all evidence of head lice in one treatment visit.   All technicians are personally lice combed numerous times during training and comb themselves weekly as a preventive technique so they know what the comb feels like going to the scalp and through the hair.  Adjustments to technique are made on a client-by-client basis and we also manually nit-pick any evidence not removed by the comb, but the cornerstone of our head lice removal program is indeed a thorough nit combing.

I explain to parents all the time that the feeling of the nit comb being used properly is unique because it’s tight and was specifically designed to enable a user to get down as close to the scalp as possible and “grab” head lice and nits where they’re normally “residing”.  Those with thicker hair (and we’ve often found – red heads) seem to feel it the most.  I wish there was a shortcut and to be honest, I personally feel sad when I hear or observe a child (or on rare occasion, a parent) reacting adversely to the combing, but I take comfort in knowing  that it’s short-lived, necessary and that my technicians will work to ensure that an individual is as comfortable as possible.  We also provide parents with guidelines on making the process as emotionally painless as possible and often find that distraction, a movie and snacks make a big difference.


Head lice removal, either via Elimilice or via a family’s efforts at home does indeed take some time.   A short-haired individual can take us an hour to an hour and a half to treat and a medium/long-haired individual can take two to two and a half hours or more.   If you’re personally and properly treating your child(ren) at home, you’re looking at hours and hours of combing over a minimum two week time frame and repeated cleaning.  The time required to get rid of a case of head lice could be considered a bit of a pain.  Using a service will indeed minimize this, but it is still a process.


Cleaning your home and car as a result of head lice can also take some time.  Although we constantly reiterate that you DO NOT NEED TO RIP YOUR HOUSE APART, there are some minimum efforts you must make.  Sheets and pillowcases have to be washed/dried, combs and brushes washed, vehicles sticky lint-rolled or vacuumed and upholstery and carpets vacuumed.  If you weren’t planning on this and/or don’t have a house cleaner that can be timed to be at your home exactly when you need their services, it can surely be a pain.  Thankfully, when you use Elimilice, we provide you with written guidelines as to cleaning as a result of a case of head lice and you need only clean once.  When you are treating your family yourself, you’ll want to continue to clean until you find no further evidence of head lice – which can be for up to two weeks. (NOTE:  There is no need to purchase specialized products or hire a head lice service for cleaning.  Standard cleaning products and non-heroic efforts are sufficient.)


It’s a pain (in the neck – I mean pocket) to pay a service for head lice removal or to buy the products (prescription, over the counter or alternative) to remove lice.  No one budgets for head lice treatments!  Products can be expensive (and it’s especially painful when you make the effort to do it yourself – investing the time and money, and it still doesn’t work.)  We often have clients tell us that they wish they’d just come to us originally – rather than wasting their time and money.   I’ve written before about the value of professional head lice removal as well as prepared this chart as a comparison.  Additionally, Elimilice may have a discount or a special promotion, making use of our head lice removal service even more attractive.


So, it might be said that there is some discomfort associated with head lice removal, but hopefully, it’s a once in a lifetime endeavor and if you choose Elimilice in the Athens and Atlanta areas, we’ll do our best to make it as painless as possible.  Please contact us if we can be of assistance.