How to Prevent Lice in Dreadlocks

How to Prevent Lice in Dreadlocks

Head lice, or small insects that feed on human blood, are most common in elementary school aged children.[1] X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source If you have dreadlocks, you have about the same chance as getting lice as people without dreadlocks do, so the prevention methods are much the same. By taking basic hygiene steps, you can keep your scalp and dreadlocks lice-free.

Method 1 of 2:
Staying Away from Lice

1
Keep your dreadlocks away from other people’s heads. If you think someone has lice or you aren’t sure, try to keep your dreadlocks away from their hair. This means don’t share a pillow, a headrest, or a seat with them if your heads might get close to each other. [2] X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source Head lice can travel from person to person very easily, which is how they’re usually spread. The most common way that lice spread is through head to head contact, so it’s very important to keep your hair away from other people.
2
Avoid sharing personal items, like hats and scarves. Lice and their eggs can live on hats, scarves, ear muffs, and headbands. Try not to borrow or share anyone’s personal items that may have touched their hair. [3] X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source If you do need to borrow someone else’s items, try to wash them in hot water first.
3
Stay away from an infected person’s bed or couch. If you know that someone has lice, try not to touch their bed, their couch, or any other soft items they may have come into contact with. Lice and their eggs can live on soft surfaces like this for days, and they may grab onto you as you sit or lie down. [4] X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source This also includes pillows, stuffed animals, and carpets.
4
Use a headscarf on planes or trains. If you are using public transportation and you know you’re going to come into close contact with strangers, use a head wrap or a scarf to cover your dreadlocks. It will be much harder for the lice to spread through an outer covering, so it can provide some protection. [5] X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source If you dreadlocks are sticking out of the bottom of your headwrap, there is a chance the lice could grab onto them.
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Method 2 of 2:
Treating Lice

1
Wash soft items, like clothes and bedding, in hot water. As soon as you notice you have lice, collect all of your clothes, bedding, stuffed animals, and pillows, and put them into the washing machine. Make sure the water is at least 130 °F (54 °C) to kill the lice. [6] X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source Dry all of your items on high heat as well, just in case there’s some lice left over. If you can’t wash a soft item, seal it in a plastic bag and leave it sealed for at least 2 weeks to starve any lice.
2
Vacuum the floor and the furniture in the house. Turn your vacuum on high and use it on all soft areas, like the carpet and the furniture. Empty out the bag into the trash right away to get rid of any eggs or nits. [7] X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source You don’t need to kill the lice before you vacuum them up. They’ll die without a source of food in your trash can.
3
Use an anti-lice shampoo. Pick up an anti-lice shampoo from your local drug store and wet your hair. Rub the shampoo into your scalp, trying to permeate all the layers of your dreadlocks. Rinse the shampoo out, then use it to wash your dreadlocks again within 7 days to kill any remaining lice. [8] X Trustworthy Source Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School's Educational Site for the Public Go to source Look for a shampoo that contains permethrin or pyrethrins for the most effectiveness. You need to use the shampoo twice to kill any remaining lice, otherwise you could get infected again.
4
Rub a topical anti-lice medication into your scalp. Shake up the bottle of anti-lice medication and uncap it. Pour the medicine all over your dreadlocks, focusing on your scalp first and then working your way down. Leave the solution in your hair for 10 minutes, then use normal shampoo, but not conditioner, to wash it out. [9] X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source If you have long dreadlocks, you may need to use a second bottle. Don’t wash your hair or use a conditioner for the next 1 to 2 days to give the medicine a chance to work. Unfortunately, you can’t go through with a comb to pick the nits out of your dreadlocks, which may make the medication slightly less effective.
5
Seek prescription medication from your doctor if you need to. If you’ve used a lice shampoo or an over the counter medicine and the lice still seem active after 8 hours, the treatments may not have worked. Visit your doctor to talk about your options and seek a stronger treatment for your lice. [10] X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source The doctor may prescribe you stronger topical medications or shampoos to try.
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Method 1 of 2:
Staying Away from Lice

1
Keep your dreadlocks away from other people’s heads. If you think someone has lice or you aren’t sure, try to keep your dreadlocks away from their hair. This means don’t share a pillow, a headrest, or a seat with them if your heads might get close to each other. [2] X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source Head lice can travel from person to person very easily, which is how they’re usually spread. The most common way that lice spread is through head to head contact, so it’s very important to keep your hair away from other people.
2
Avoid sharing personal items, like hats and scarves. Lice and their eggs can live on hats, scarves, ear muffs, and headbands. Try not to borrow or share anyone’s personal items that may have touched their hair. [3] X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source If you do need to borrow someone else’s items, try to wash them in hot water first.
3
Stay away from an infected person’s bed or couch. If you know that someone has lice, try not to touch their bed, their couch, or any other soft items they may have come into contact with. Lice and their eggs can live on soft surfaces like this for days, and they may grab onto you as you sit or lie down. [4] X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source This also includes pillows, stuffed animals, and carpets.
4
Use a headscarf on planes or trains. If you are using public transportation and you know you’re going to come into close contact with strangers, use a head wrap or a scarf to cover your dreadlocks. It will be much harder for the lice to spread through an outer covering, so it can provide some protection. [5] X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source If you dreadlocks are sticking out of the bottom of your headwrap, there is a chance the lice could grab onto them.
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Method 2 of 2:
Treating Lice

1
Wash soft items, like clothes and bedding, in hot water. As soon as you notice you have lice, collect all of your clothes, bedding, stuffed animals, and pillows, and put them into the washing machine. Make sure the water is at least 130 °F (54 °C) to kill the lice. [6] X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source Dry all of your items on high heat as well, just in case there’s some lice left over. If you can’t wash a soft item, seal it in a plastic bag and leave it sealed for at least 2 weeks to starve any lice.
2
Vacuum the floor and the furniture in the house. Turn your vacuum on high and use it on all soft areas, like the carpet and the furniture. Empty out the bag into the trash right away to get rid of any eggs or nits. [7] X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source You don’t need to kill the lice before you vacuum them up. They’ll die without a source of food in your trash can.
3
Use an anti-lice shampoo. Pick up an anti-lice shampoo from your local drug store and wet your hair. Rub the shampoo into your scalp, trying to permeate all the layers of your dreadlocks. Rinse the shampoo out, then use it to wash your dreadlocks again within 7 days to kill any remaining lice. [8] X Trustworthy Source Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School's Educational Site for the Public Go to source Look for a shampoo that contains permethrin or pyrethrins for the most effectiveness. You need to use the shampoo twice to kill any remaining lice, otherwise you could get infected again.
4
Rub a topical anti-lice medication into your scalp. Shake up the bottle of anti-lice medication and uncap it. Pour the medicine all over your dreadlocks, focusing on your scalp first and then working your way down. Leave the solution in your hair for 10 minutes, then use normal shampoo, but not conditioner, to wash it out. [9] X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source If you have long dreadlocks, you may need to use a second bottle. Don’t wash your hair or use a conditioner for the next 1 to 2 days to give the medicine a chance to work. Unfortunately, you can’t go through with a comb to pick the nits out of your dreadlocks, which may make the medication slightly less effective.
5
Seek prescription medication from your doctor if you need to. If you’ve used a lice shampoo or an over the counter medicine and the lice still seem active after 8 hours, the treatments may not have worked. Visit your doctor to talk about your options and seek a stronger treatment for your lice. [10] X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source The doctor may prescribe you stronger topical medications or shampoos to try.
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