September is head lice prevention month, and how fitting because kids are going back to school. I know I am a little behind, but this can be relevant no matter what time of year it is.
When kids start back to school they also start sharing everything again. That means that it is a time for more colds, and even worse, head lice. Just talking about this makes my head itch, but I think talking about it will help you not only prevent your child from getting head lice, but also let you know how to treat head lice if your child comes home with it one day.
Can you prevent head lice?
You can not prevent a child from getting head lice. The best thing a person can do is to treat their child or themselves as soon as they know they have lice, and let others they have been in contact with know so they can get treated as well. Aside from that you can instruct your kids to not share personal items such as hats and combs to help prevent the spread of lice.
My kid has lice, now what?
There are many things out there that you can buy to help get rid of lice. The most important thing is to treat it as soon as you notice it because lice can live in pillows and furniture if you let it go.
You will need at least a lice comb. Some experts say you can just comb through your child’s hair every night for 3 weeks to get rid of the lice. Personally I think this is the lazy way to go about it and is not the most effective.
You can always go out and but the medicated shampoo to kill the lice, but some parents worry about using chemicals on their child’s hair, and I completely understand. Plus, there is a new strand of lice that the medicated shampoos do not work on. If you do go this route, make sure you follow the directions on the bottle and still comb through your child’s hair with a lice comb for a few days after the treatment to make sure they are all gone.
Good news, all is not lost. There are plenty of things you may have in your house you can use. Olive or almond oil work just fine. Just coat the child’s hair with the oil and run the lice comb through sections of hair to remove the lice. Rinse the comb off with hot water after each pass through the hair. Once you have made it through all the hair, shampoo with your child’s regular shampoo, rinse and repeat. You will want to repeat this every night for a week, especially if you are still seeing lice, and you will want to comb through your child’s hair at least once a week for several weeks to make sure there is no more lice. After each treatment you want to wash the comb and towels in either 10% bleach or vinegar to kill the lice. For the comb, you can boil it in hot water for 5-10 minutes if you prefer.
There are essential oils that may work as well if you have them handy, such as tea tree oil or lavender oil. As I said, the most important thing is to treat the lice as soon as you know about it, and it may be harder if you have to go out and buy the medicated shampoo. Most people have olive oil in their house, and if you don’t and you have school age children, this is a good excuse, and it is relatively inexpensive.
Has your child ever had lice? How did you treat it?