October 18th, 2011

Lice Suck: Everything You Need to Know About Head Lice

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Everything You Need to Know About Head Lice

It happened. Remember, I said it was inevitable? Last week was a doozy:  we had to combat head lice.  I am happy to report that we are now lice free and probably have the cleanest carpets and bedding around. But it wasn’t easy.

There’s no question that lice are creepy and annoying, but they’re not harmful. They also don’t discriminate.  They claim the scalps of school age children in the US, just as they do in France.  I still managed to slip into full panic mode once the discovery was made. I wasn’t prepared and felt helpless and vulnerable.

Based on my completely irrational reaction I’ve decided to pass along to you what I’ve learned from my lice adventure. Hopefully, this will help you be better prepared for the inevitable.

How do you know when you have lice?

You will know. You might see little bugs.  There might be a very itchy scalp, although not everyone itches since itching is actually an allergic reaction to the louses saliva. If you want to know what you are looking for just Google lice!

How do you know if there are nits?

Nits are lice eggs and look like tiny yellow, tan, or brown dots before they hatch. Nits look sort of like dandruff, only they can’t be removed by brushing or shaking them off.

Are you scratching your head yet?

What NOT to do once you discover you have lice

  • Don’t panic
  • Don’t buy every over–the-counter remedy like I did. I spent a lot of money and they didn’t work.

What you SHOULD do when you have lice

  • Buy The LiceMeister® Comb. Buy one NOW-before you have lice. When they do decide to show up you will be armed. This comb works.
  • If you must use products (we didn’t), only use non-toxic and pesticide free products.
  • Call a nitpicker to help comb through the hair. It’s a big investment so you need to decide if it’s worth it.  I was very overwhelmed when we discovered all 5 of us had lice. This was the route we chose since we couldn’t imagine combing through each person’s hair (it literally takes hours).
  • If you don’t want to make the nitpicker investment, buzz off the hair so that it’s under 1/8th of an inch. We will be choosing this option if there’s a next time.

How to get rid of them

  • All towels, bedding, stuffed animals, hats and anything else that may have come in contact with our heads was placed in the dryer (on high heat) for 30-40 minutes.
  • All carpets and upholstered furniture were thoroughly vacuumed.
  • Scan through the hair with your eyes and look for nits. Pull them out (ewww, but necessary). Use your LiceMeister comb to help pull them out.
  • After the hair has been combed through and there are no nits or bugs, grab a bottle of olive oil. Using olive oil suffocates and smothers any remaining lice. We applied olive oil to our hair that night and slept with it.  We combed our hair out in the morning with The LiceMeister® Comband then washed the out the olive oil.

Follow-up

Continue to comb through everyone’s hair daily and continue to do so for the next few weeks. Use the olive oil treatments every few days and keep checking.  My guess is that I will comb thorough our hair every few days throughout the year.

Lice facts

  • Blow dryer heat isn’t hot enough to kill them.
  • The pesticide laden treatments filled with toxic chemicals and the all natural treatments probably won’t work.
  • Lice can’t jump from head to head. They spread by direct contact.

Be diligent and check those heads. Any other tricks for lice removal?

Disclaimer: This is my opinion and this is what worked for us. I am not a medical professional nor do I play one on TV. Please seek medical attention if you discover you have lice.

Disclosure: There is an Amazon Affiliate link in this post. If you use it to buy a product it will place a few pennies in my pocket. Thanks!

[Photo used under Creative Commons from D. Sharon Pruitt/Flickr]


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