Mention Lice to people and around 30% of them will start feeling itchy! Sorry to make you itchy but unfortunately Lice is a part of life. If you or your child gets infested, don’t feel bad – it doesn’t mean you are a poor housekeeper or have dirty hair…In fact, Lice actually like clean hair better!
Before we start with how to deal with lice, I’ll just mention a drop of prevention. Lice will have an easier time getting into hair that is flying all over, so send your child to school with some pretty hair accessories in her hair that will not only make her look pretty and feel great, but will help prevent lice from getting into her pretty tendrils! Headbands and pony holders are great and pretty bows or clips will also do the trick.
If your daughter is itchy or scratchy, or you heard that some of her friends or classmates got lice the first thing to do is to check her hair. Part the hair and look for the nits – small white/clear oval eggs attached to a shaft of hair around 1 inch from the scalp. Lice like to hang out in dark spots so check at the nape of the neck or behind the ears first.
See them? Ok, it’s not as bad as you may think. First off, there are lots of over the counter or prescription shampoos to help you get rid of the lice. They will kill the lice, but not the nit eggs which hatch in batches every 10-14 days. And need to be combed out with a nit comb or picked out by hand. Part the hair when you do this and use a pencil tip or blunted skewer to part the hair in small sections to help you go systematically through the hair removing the nits.
Some shampoos come with a plastic comb with instructions to use it to comb out the remaining knits after using the shampoo. In my experience, it is much better to invest in a metal toothed nit and lice comb which has teeth far more close together to help remove the remaining knits and is available at most drugstores.
What about the rest of the house? Instead of investing hours of work cleaning and laundering the whole house, focus on getting the nits out of the hair before they hatch. Lice or nits off the head have a lifespan of about 12 hours so you don’t need to fight them too aggressively. Just wash coats, clothing, bedding head scarfs, head wraps and tichels recently used in hot water and that will kill the lice/nits. Other items that can’t be washed like wigs or dressy hats can be placed in the freezer as that will effectively kill the lice/nits as well. Disinfect the hair brushes and hair combs by dipping in alcohol, wash or freeze hair accessories and buy a fresh set of pony holders to be on the safe side.
It may take a couple of times with the lice shampoo and a couple of days of rigorous nit picking to get rid of the lice but hang in there – they will be done with before you know it and you can look back and laugh at your lice adventure!
If you’ve got any lice experience or tips please leave a comment – we’d love to hear from you so we can help keep our kids (and our) hair free from unwanted visitors!