Wet Combing

wet combing

People generally use wet combing treatment (often called 'bug-busting') to remove head lice without using anti-lice lotions or sprays to kill them.

What is the technique of wet combing?

There is a special ‘detection comb’. One can get these combs from pharmacies or buy it on the Internet. Only one kit is needed for a family. It is washable and reusable.

  • Wash the hair with ordinary shampoo.
  • Rinse the shampoo with water and add ordinary conditioner.
  • Comb the hair with a normal comb to get rid of tangles.
  • When the hair is untangled switch to the detection comb.
  • Slot the teeth of the detection comb into the hair at the roots so it is touching the scalp.
  • Draw the detection comb through to the tips of the hair.
  • Make sure that all parts of the hair are combed by working around the head.
  • Check the comb for lice after each stroke. A magnifying glass may help.
  • If you see any lice, clean the comb by wiping it on a tissue, or rinse it before the next stroke.
  • After you have combed the whole head, rinse out the conditioner.

Generally, a single session takes up to an hour to do a wet combing session properly. And then you need to do the same at least four times, every four days. The number of sessions required depends on the last time you see lice.The first combing session should remove all hatched head lice, but does not remove eggs. Therefore lice that hatch from eggs after the first session may still be present.Subsequent sessions clear newly hatched lice. Keep doing the combing sessions every four days until you have had three sessions where no lice are detected.Once you have had three sessions where you do not see any lice, it usually means that you are then free of lice.

What advice is given to family and friends?

People living in the same room or who had a head to head contact within the previous 4-6 weeks should be contacted. They should be told of having their heads checked for lice. It used to be a normal practice to tell the people with close contact to start treatment, but treatment is started only when there is evidence of lice. However, people living in the same house should be treated for lice, to stop further spread.

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