Tips for Lice Prevention and TreatmentAs I was writing this article, I received the dreaded email that one of the students in my son's class had lice last week and was being treated. I started to panic, and then remembered the tips given to me by a fellow mom who had dealt with this before. Hopefully you won't ever need it, but keep this info handy as the school year goes on because you never know! Thank you so much to Beth Riedemann for sharing her knowledge and pointers on lice prevention and vanquishing!
- Tea Tree Oil or Peppermint Extract: Lice do not like the smell of these oils, so it deters them from using you as a feeding ground.
- Vasaline and grease: These make the hair slicker and more difficult for lice to grab onto.
- Have your child keep hats/coats/scarves separate from the rest of the class. Encourage them not to throw all of their things in a pile together.
- Don't let your child share hair accessories/brushes/or combs.
- Use a heat source (such as a blow dryer) on your child's hair (low heat setting is fine)
- If your child has long hair, you may want to tie it up at school. If it is flowing free, it is more likely to drift near another child's head and possibly snag a bug or two (or many).
Getting Rid of them
In the Car:
- in Summer: Park your car in the sun, roll up the windows, and the heat will kill them
- in Winter: Park your car outside, roll the windows down, and freeze them
- Heat: Use a blow dryer, flat iron, or curling iron regularly. They can't survive the drying heat.
- Enzyme: It makes lice explode on contact. You can order it on Amazon and keep it on-hand for whenever you need it (Nit Free Complete Lice Removal Kit)
- Nit Removal Comb: Get all of them. You miss one egg, they rebuild.
- Shave Their Heads: This is a popular option (especially for parents of boys), but not the only one. Please don't feel like you have to shave all of your child's hair off unless that is a hair-do you (and your child) are ok with.
In the House:
- Quarantine the kid's bedroom for 24-48 hours. Put brushes/combs in a bag and freeze for 24 hours. Bag stuffed animals or wash and dry them on high heat.
- Wash all bedding in hot water.
- Want expert help in getting all of them? Call a lice removal service. They are the experts and will make sure to vanquish all of those suckers!
More Important Information:
- They can't survive off-host: for more than 24 hours. So there's no need to burn your house down.
- Lice does not discriminate! Lice is deterred by coarse, curly hair, but that does not mean they won't jump on in if the opportunity arises. So, if there is an outbreak in your child's class, make sure everyone gets checked!
- What About Pets: lice only likes human heads
- Movement: Lice can't jump or fly from head to head
- Final Note: Adults rarely get them because we use hair products and hair dryers and the like. But if lice has invaded your house, make sure you get checked too; otherwise you could end up "reinfecting" the rest of your house.