If just the thought of head lice makes your head itch, think about what it is doing to your child who has them. Lice are a common problem shared by school-age children across the United States. Most parents receive the dreaded letter from the school at least one time during their child’s school career. The letter usually states that lice are going around the school and that you had better check your child.
Before lice-killing pesticides came on the scene, the method for getting rid of lice was nit picking. As of 2009, however, lice are becoming resistant to pesticides, according to the Dr. Alan Greene website. This makes nit removal a mainstay of lice removal once again.
Use a special nit comb to remove the nits. These combs have metal teeth that are close together, which pulls on the nits but not on your child’s hair. You may want to put on some white vinegar before you comb to loosen the nits from the hair shaft.
Petroleum jelly or mayonnaise may work to get rid of lice. You would cover your child’s head liberally with the petroleum jelly or mayonnaise. Put a shower cap over your child’s head overnight or for an 8-hour period. Shampoo the petroleum jelly or mayonnaise out of the hair. What you are doing with this technique is smothering the lice, which may or may not work. The petroleum jelly or mayonnaise treatment may only cause lice to go into a dormant state. They revive later unless you remove them from the hair shaft. Also, petroleum jelly is difficult to shampoo out of the hair. It can take a week to get it out completely. It is non-toxic, however, so you may want to try it.
Another non-toxic method the Dr. Greene website recommends is to combine your regular shampoo with 3 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. tea tree oil and 1 tsp. rosemary or eucalyptus oil. Shampoo and leave on the hair for one hour with a tight shower cap. Shampoo and repeat if necessary.
You can still buy the medicated lice treatments that contain pesticides. If you use the product correctly and the lice are not resistant to it, it can work. If you do use a medicated product, don’t use a blow dryer with it. Blow drying makes the product ineffective, and some of these products are flammable, according to the Kids Health website.
Treat the Environment
You must also treat your home. You have to wash all clothing and bedding–including bedspreads, pillows and mattress covers–in hot water. If you cannot wash any clothing or bedding item in hot water, you can double bag it in a plastic bag, seal it, and leave the item in the bag for three days. Then, you can wash the item, according to normal washing instructions. Soak all combs and brushes in a disinfectant. Vacuum or steam the carpet and furniture in your entire house.
Take a Vacation
If you absolutely abhor cleaning, you can simply lock up your house and stay somewhere else for 55 hours. That is how long it takes lice to die without a human host.
- brushing hair image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com