Lice Treatment & Prevention Tips

2015NOV10_licecombingSince lice is going around schools,  we all need to work at checking and keeping our kids clear of lice otherwise it just circulates.  It just takes one undetected louse or nit to start the cycle again.  There is no shame in lice so we should all try to educate ourselves and our children.  It is like getting a cold or the flu.  We can pass it to each other.  We need to stay home until we are well and we need to treat it.  Below you’ll find some tips to detect and get rid of lice.

FACTS:

  • Lice come to the most clean heads;  they do not discriminate.  Men, women, all cultures and types of hair, short and long.   Everyone is a possible candidate for lice.
  • Nits (eggs) are NOT WHITE, they are brown.  But they can also be light colored on blondes like camouflage.
  • Picking through dry hair trying to eyeball for lice or nits is a waste of time since they are so small.
  • Parents should do a Lice Check once a month the same way  you manually comb out the lice. See check & treatment steps listed below.
  • We recommend a metal lice comb, not plastic.  She swears by the Nisska German made Stainless Steel comb, $22.

    metal lice comb

    metal lice comb

  • Lice cannot live off a human scalp for more than 48 hours SO you do need to wash, ziplock or just store away things that could be carrying the lice such as pillows, stuffed animals, sheets, hats, etc.  Until that period is over (although do it for a week if you find lice or nits).  Cover your couch with a sheet, etc.  Basically the idea is once your childs head is “clean” you don’t want a single lice (louse) to crawl back on from the pillow or couch where they are waiting.
  • If you find lice or nits, you should check the ENTIRE FAMILY as even just one louse or nit on another person’s head can restart the entire cycle so treat everyone to ensure getting it all out of your house.
  • Check “Hot Spots” on the head.  Behind the ears, nape of the neck, crown of the head.  Bangs on kids.  To me this sounds like the entire head.
  • The prescribed medicines also do not work as the lice have mutated to become immune. Kids can develop severe skin reactions on their scalp due to multiple harsh chemical treatments.  The best option is to manually remove lice and be diligent.
  • Do not use anything chemical like kerosene or bug spray.

DIY TREATMENT:

Needed:

  • A metal, fine-toothed nit/lice comb, available at most drugstores
  • Bottle of hair conditioner. We recommend Pantene but any thick hair conditioner works.
  • Baking soda
  • Paper towels
  • A bowl of water or alcohol to rinse comb periodically

MANUAL LICE REMOVAL OR CHECK:

Use the checklist below to check your child’s hair/comb out any nits or lice:

  1. In a bowl, mix together a paste using thick conditioner and baking soda (2/3 conditioner, 1/3 baking soda). Set aside a stack of paper towels.
  2. Dip the tines of the metal lice comb into the paste, coating the tine end of the comb.
  3. Sectioning off the child’s hair into very small sections, comb through each section, from the root of the hair down to the end.
  4. After one comb through a section, wipe the comb on the paper towel, cleaning off the paste mixture and any loose hair. Nits or lice (small and brown or black in color) from that section should come out onto the paper towel.
  5. Continue combing through each section of hair, wiping the comb and the paste onto the paper towel until you have coated and combed through the entire head of hair.
  6. Dispose of used paper towels properly.
  7. Wash comb in soap and warm water, then sterilize comb in boiling water between each usage/each person checked.
  8. Vacuum any hair/dust in the area where you combed out, and around any beds/bedrooms/furniture that cannot be washed and dried.
  9. Repeat combing process for each family member as needed. CONTINUE THE COMB OUT PROCESS ABOVE FOR 5-7 DAYS, AS NEW NITS MAY EMERGE OVER A WEEK’S TIME.

HOME CARE:

  • Remove and wash and dry on high heat all bedding used by anyone found with nits or lice.
  • Remove and dry on high heat all pillows in the area.
  • Remove any stuffed animals in the area, put in a sealable garbage bag, seal, and put in a different location for one week.
  • Boil, or put in the freezer for 24 hours, any combs, brushes, and hair accessories used by anyone found with lice or nits.
  • Some lice treatment companies recommend applying essential oils (tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender), mixed with olive oil, to the scalp before bedtime—this is believed to suffocate any remaining nits. If you do this, wash the hair the next morning to remove the oils.

PREVENTION:essential-oils-

  • Combat bed head and lice. A PS32 parent recommends spraying your student daily with Herbal Lice Prevention Spray. Buy a small, travel size, spray bottle.  Add 4 drops each of tea tree oil, lavender, rosemary, thyme, then fill bottle with distilled water (it smells delicious!). Shake well and spray their hair thoroughly each morning and comb through.
  • Educate your children on activities that spread lice – selfies, whispering in ears, sleep overs, getting close to view video game screens, sharing accessories or combs.
  • For students with long hair, tied up hair is the best.