How Long Does It Take To Get Rid Of Lice?

In this discussion, we will be looking at how long does it take for lice to go away after treatment.

Lice issues are among the most embarrassing pest situations anyone could face. These are common with kids who easily get affected by friends when they come into head-to-head contact with them.

Before long, everyone within the household gets lice issues.

This is more common when the problem isn’t detected fast enough. While a wide variety of treatments are available, lice problems won’t disappear overnight.

A lot of people will want to have a timeframe of how long their lice problems will persist before going away.

How Long Have You had the Problem?

Speaking of the time required to recover fully from lice infestation, you’ll need to first trace back the problem from when it first started. In most cases, lice problems are likely to be brought in by your kids.

It’s most common among children between the ages of 3 and 11 years.

According to a Johns Hopkins publication, head lice problems are likely to be more common among girls than boys and Caucasians than other races.

To calculate how long you’ve had these parasitic insects attaching to your scalp, you’ll need to consider when you started experiencing itchiness.

Before a human host begins to experience itchiness on their scalp, it will be around 4 to 6 weeks after lice exposure. Within this time, lice multiply in their numbers before their presence becomes noticeable.

  • Why It Matters

If you wonder why knowing the time of lice infestation matters, you’ll need to consider the likelihood of infestations worsening with time. In other words, longer periods of lice exposure translate to severe infestations.

At its earliest stage, head lice problems may only be identified by nit presence.

Also, fewer lice may be present on the.

At such stage, the treatment is a lot easier compared to full blown infestations. More difficult head lice infestations take longer to get rid of compared to less difficult ones.

How Long Does It Take To Get Rid Of Head & Body Lice

When it comes to lice problems, it’s important to understand the need for proper treatment. You cannot deal with such infestation by simply doing nothing in the form of treatment.

This will only worsen the problem by further spreading it to more household members.

So, the timeframe for relief we’re more concerned about involves treatment. So, in framing the question, it will be something like; how long does lice treatment last?

People React Differently to Lice Problems

For a lot of people (especially those experiencing the problem for the first time), lice presence signaled by itchy scalp won’t be noticed for about 4 to 6 weeks.

This is a significant time for these parasitic insects to multiply and spread. Plus, it will be widespread by the time you notice.

Also, your scalp skin gets sensitized to lice saliva being released when they feed. People who have experienced lice problems in the past usually experience the symptoms (itchy scalp) much faster.

The reason is simple; their scalp is already sensitized to lice activity.

In some other cases, people may experience no symptoms at all. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re immune to lice. Rather, it’s due to their skin not being irritated by lice presence or activity.

Head Lice Won’t Survive For Long When they Fall off the Scalp

Apart from taking over-the-counter medications recommended by a health expert, other lice treatments include vacuuming of surfaces an infected person came in contact with. Such include floors and carpets as well as couches.

The reason for vacuuming is to pick up lice that have fallen off from the scalp.

When a head louse no longer has contact with the scalp (falls off the scalp), it hardly survives beyond 1 to 2 days.

For nits, there’s no more warmth supplied by the scalp. As such, they die within a week.

Timing Depends on How Effective A Lice Treatment is When Applied

To ensure that lice are gotten rid of within the shortest time possible, you’ll need to consider your treatment alternatives. Certain treatments tend to be more effective than others.

We recommend going with treatments approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA recommends several lice medications each tested to be highly effective. They include Ivermectin lotion also known by the brand name Sklice, and benzyl alcohol lotion with brand name Ulesfia lotion.

Another FDA-approved lice medication is Spinosad topical suspension known by its brand name Natrona.

Lindane shampoo is also recommended by the FDA but for second-line treatments only. You mustn’t self-medicate with any of these.

Only follow medical advice for maximum benefit.

How Long Will My Lice Problems Get Resolved?

How long does it take for lice to die?

Even with the best lice treatments, your problems won’t go away instantly. Treatment is a process that gradually takes its toll on these pests. Also, such treatments are mostly administered in batches.

You’ll need a nit comb for nit and lice removal.

This is mostly done every 2 to 3 days after each treatment. However, not all treatments require this action.

With one of the medications (spinosad topical suspension), you won’t have to perform the ritual of using a nit comb on hair every 2 to 3 days.

From the time of starting the treatment, it will take around 2 to 3 weeks to get rid of lice. In some cases (especially advanced lice infestation), treatment may take a bit longer.

So, you’ll have to be a bit patient as long as the right medication is being used.

When a treatment doesn’t have the desired effect, the retreatment will be recommended by a health expert. Of course, you’ll need to stick to all instructions guiding its use.

Plus, retreatment is only performed about a week after the first treatment. Note, this shouldn’t be done immediately but only at the advice of a medical professional.

  • Timing Depends on Lice Treatment Method Used

Getting rid of lice infestations has a lot to do with the treatment method applied. Now, treatments are basically categorized into two; there are DIY or at-home treatments as well as medical treatments.

Only reliable treatment methods will give desired results.

  • DIY Lice Treatments

Effective DIY lice treatments will take anywhere from a week or two to completely get rid of these parasites. The most common and effective treatment used is the medicated lice shampoo.

Such shampoos are specially formulated to combat lice problems.

To use such, you’ll need a nit comb. Some medicated shampoos come with nit combs. Now, apply the shampoo as directed while using your nit comb to manually remove lice and nits from the hair.

Persons with long hair will require more shampoo. You should know the amount of medical shampoo needed to get the job done.

A one-time treatment using this method isn’t enough. The treatment process needs to be repeated every 3 to 4 days. Depending on how severe it is, you can apply the shampoo treatment 3 times a week.

However, it’s important to refer to the use instruction on the product label.

  • Medical Treatments

Sometimes, certain treatments seem ineffective as head lice problems persist after home treatments. If you’re faced with such a situation, it’s best to see a doctor.

At this stage, the problem is best handled medically with treatment prescribed or issued by the doctor.

Antibiotic treatments may be given for cases where there’s severe irritation leading to infection. Getting rid of lice problems using this method will also take about a week or two.

Some of the most used medications include malathion lotion and benzyl alcohol lotion.

Others include lindane shampoo as well as spinosad topical suspension. Other forms of treatments may be offered by the doctor depending on the intensity of infestation.

Scalp Treatment For Lice Isn’t Enough

Comprehensive lice treatments go beyond the scalp.

You’ll need to implement a wide range of precautionary measures. Such measures are preventive and contain the spread of these parasites to other members of the household.

First off, you’ll need to discourage your kids from having head-to-head contact in school. This is one of the primary ways of spreading lice.

Also, avoid sharing clothing especially barrettes, hats, hair ribbons, scarves, sports uniforms, and coats.

You also need to avoid lying on beds used by lice-infested persons. This includes areas such as couches, carpets, pillows, and stuffed animals. Other items to avoid sharing include combs, brushes, and towels.

Whenever such are used, they should be soaked in hot water to kill lice and nits.

A lot of vacuuming will be necessary when dealing with lice infestation in homes.

Areas targeted include furniture, floor, and carpet areas. Have all cloth and bedding worn at least two days before treatment machine-washed and dried.

It’s important to leave out all forms of fog and spray treatments. Although they’ll kill lice, they’re toxic and could be inhaled.

With the timing details provided above, you’re able to estimate how long it will take to get rid of your lice problem.

Avoiding Lice Re-Infestation

There are lots of cases where people make the mistake of unknowingly prolonging a lice infestation. This can happen when adequate supplemental measures on your part aren’t taken.

Supplemental measures in this case refer to what you do to keep lice from spreading to other family members.

To avoid re-infestation, you’ll need to carry out a few simple actions that will go a long way to keep lice from returning. These include soaking combs in hot water, machine wash, and dry clothing, vacuuming, and avoiding the use of toxic products.

  • Soaking Brushes and Combs in Hot Water

It’s important when treating lice problems to avoid sharing combs. This should continue long after lice treatment.

The best way to treat brushes and combs is by having them soaked in hot water for about 5 to 10 minutes. This should be sufficient time to destroy nits and lice lodged on such combs.

  • Machine Wash and Dry Clothing

All fabric items used by an infected person such as bed linens, clothing hair ribbons, and so on should be laundered using the machine.

Machine washing and drying of such clothing should be done using a hot water laundry cycle.

The same applies to drying. It should be set to a high heat drying cycle. Lice and nits hardly survive such simple actions. This is mostly targeted at items used 2 days before treatment began.

  • Vacuuming

This is one of the most common ways to pick nits and lice fallen on carpets, rugs, and couches. You’ll need to deliberately target areas where an infested person lay or sat down.

  • Avoiding the Use of Toxic Products

While seeking to get rid of lice, you mustn’t end up putting yourself in harm’s way. Toxic products such as fumigant sprays should be used on the scalp or body.

These could cause problems when inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

Is There A Quicker Way to Get Relief From Lice?

It’s common to find people wanting an almost immediate relief from lice problems.

Is that possible? Can one get over a lice problem in record time?

There is no such thing as instant relief from lice problems. Processes are followed during lice treatments.

A disruption of such processes is unlikely to give better results. As a matter of fact, you could end up worsening the problem. At best, lice problems can be gone within a week of proper treatment.

Certain Lice Treatments May Take Longer Than Necessary

There’s no guarantee that treatment for head lice will give desired results. This is especially true when the methods used aren’t effective.

Lice problems can linger on, thus resulting in time wastage with little to no results to show.

If you must get rid of lice problems, it must be done within a short period of time to prevent further worsening of the infestation. The longer lice remain, the more difficult it becomes to get relief as they could easily develop resistance to a wide range of treatments.


One pest problem considered as being among the most difficult to deal with is head lice. This is because a lot of over-the-counter treatments don’t give the results as claimed.

Depending on the method used, the time or duration necessary to get rid of head lice will vary.

This article discusses the time necessary for full recovery from lice infestation. Here, timing is of the essence as you want to get the quickest relief from all the discomfort such as the itchy scalp.

Also, you want to recover as quickly as possible from one of the most embarrassing pest problems to have.

We’ve seen that lice problems will go away within 2 to 3 weeks from the time of administering treatment. Sometimes, it may take longer. However, this is only applicable to the right treatment methods.

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