How do I Treat Lice Bites?

Rebecca Harkin

Lice bites usually look like tiny red dots on the skin surface and can produce annoying itching as a result of the body’s immune response to the louse’s saliva, which is introduced when the louse attack the scalp. The best way for you to treat lice bites is to rid yourself of the lice using a strong lice-destroying shampoo, use a nit comb to remove any dead or remaining lice, and then treat the lice bites or rash which is associated with the infestation. Natural treatments for lice bites are baking soda, lemon, basil, mint, and thyme. Cool compresses are another non-medicated option that can provide temporary relief from the itch. Medicated relief can be found with over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams, calamine lotion, and oral anti-histamines.

Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can help temporarily relieve the itching associated with lice bites.
Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can help temporarily relieve the itching associated with lice bites.

Before the lice bites can heal and disappear, it is essential to clear up the infestation so no further bites occur. The best procedure for removing the lice is to use a pediculicide, or lice-destroying shampoo, and comb out the hair with a special, fine comb called a nit comb. This procedure needs to be repeated in seven to nine days when any missed lice eggs would be hatching and produce a second wave of infestation. Bedding and clothing needs to be washed in hot water with bleach and detergent, and dried in a hot drier. Lice are blood-feeding insects and if deprived of blood will die, so items which cannot be washed should be sealed in a plastic bag for one month and then shaken out and vacuumed to remove any dead lice.

Natural treatments for lice bites include baking soda and lemon.
Natural treatments for lice bites include baking soda and lemon.

To treat the itchy lice bites and rash, you might want to try a natural treatment first, especially after using a harsh lice shampoo to eradicate the bugs. A baking powder paste, made from 1 part of water to 3 parts of baking soda and spread over the scalp, can provide some relief. To alleviate the pain and inflammation, spread some lemon juice or cooled mint tea on the itchy areas and allow it to dry. Half of an ounce (about 15 grams) of thyme, a strong pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory, can be placed in 1 pint (about 0.5 liters) of boiling water, cooled, and then applied to the affected area. Cold compresses can also numb the area and temporarily alleviate the itch.

Lice are a common problem for school-aged children.
Lice are a common problem for school-aged children.

Over-the-counter medications such as hydrocortisone cream and calamine lotion work well to calm the itch. These drugs can be applied directly to the itchy areas of the scalp. Oral antihistamines work well to calm the allergic reaction and minimize the rash.

A tea made with basil may be applied to the skin to relieve itching from lice bites.
A tea made with basil may be applied to the skin to relieve itching from lice bites.
A head louse.
A head louse.

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Discussion Comments


My daughter had lice five months ago. We used the natural shampoos and coconut oil to get rid of the bugs and eggs. But the bites have barely healed. I can tell they aren't fresh, but they are not fading. I know there are no lice on her head. Is baking soda helpful in healing the old bite marks as well? I see someone else asked but there was no clear answer.


@andee-- For me the key was to be consistent with whatever I was using. I have used store bought products and my own home remedies, and both have worked well as long as I didn't quit using them too soon.

I have had good results using baking soda and have also used thyme to help with the itching. It has been my experience that I get the best results using the special shampoo to start the process with, and using the home remedies to help control the symptoms from the bites.

I have had to deal with lice bites with each one of my kids at some point or another. As long as they are going to be around other kids, this will probably happen somewhere along the way.


Does a baking soda paste work as effectively as the products you buy in the store to treat lice and lice bites?

I am not all that comfortable using some of the products in the store as I feel they can be really harsh. I would feel much more comfortable treating this with natural remedies, and wondered if anyone has had good success with this?


It is one thing to treat the lice bites and another thing to get rid of the body lice altogether. Many people are familiar with head lice, but you can also get lice bites on other areas of your body.

I think one of the most important things is to keep at it. This is a long process that will take several days to weeks to completely clear up. You have to be fanatical about keeping everything washed and the hair combed out.

Using a special shampoo made to get rid of the lice is also an important first step. I think a lot of people think this is all they need to do, but the process is a lot more involved than that.


We had to treat my son for lice that he picked up at the day care. This is easier said than done because it seems like every kid in the day care ended up getting it.

We could follow all the recommendations to get rid of the lice and treat the bites, but if other parents weren't doing the same thing, he could easily get them again.

If you have ever looked at enlarged head lice pictures, it looks pretty nasty. Lice are so small and hard to see, but the damage they do can be miserable and hard to get rid of.

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