Before the day the dreaded note came home from school, that someone in the class had lice, like many parents I had thought that lice would never come into my house. I was wrong. Having small children that share hats, helmets and love to hug everyone basically ensured that those “nuisances” would become part of our lives for a little while.
I researched lice treatments and discovered that traditional lice treatments like Nix and Rid have become less and less effective over the last 30 years. Basically, lice have mutated to resist these types of treatments. Dousing my children in chemicals and having the treatment potentially be ineffective was not an option. I needed to learn how to get rid of lice naturally.
I continued my search and found that Consumers Reports had a step-by-step guide for lice and nit removal from an infested scalp. They found that the safest method of getting rid of lice is to physically remove the insects and their eggs by combing with a lubricant such as a hair conditioner, followed by treatments every few days for about a month. This worked for us and my children were never exposed to chemicals. There is no question in my mind that it was effective, but it is very time consuming! (I don’t think I can emphasize the time consuming part enough!)
Here is what I did to remove the nits and lice.
Step 1: Cover every inch of hair with a conditioner of your choice. Make sure to get it down to the scalp. (You can use olive oil instead.) Let it sit for 30 minutes.
Step 2. Using a fine-toothed metal comb – because the tines of those metal combs are small enough so that an individual hair can go through, but not the egg itself – comb through small sections, starting at the scalp and going all the way to the end. Dunk the comb in hot water and wipe it on a paper towel each time it is run through the hair.
Step 3. Repeat until the whole head is done and you no longer see nits or lice. You may have to go over the head a few times.
Step 4: Repeat in 3 to 4 days.
Here are more tips to keeping your house lice-free:
• If you don’t have the time to do a treatment like above, there are natural lice treatment kits. Choose a natural lice treatment like KaPow, which is very safe and effective. Recheck frequently for another 2 to 3 weeks and always read instructions carefully.
• Wash anything your child’s head has touched, including linens, towels, and clothing, in very hot water, and then dry in a hot dryer for 20 minutes. Store brushes and head gear that can’t be washed in plastic bags for several days or in the freezer. In winter, store the items outside for 24 hours.
• Vacuum rugs, upholstered furniture, mattresses, pillows, and car seats. Since head lice can’t live for more than a day or two without a host, concentrate on your child’s scalp rather than on the house.
It has been 3 weeks since we last saw lice, and I am hoping we never have to see them again… but I know what to do, just in case.
Photo from here, with thanks.