If you have children in public school, particularly girls, you will probably have to fight the head lice battle at one time or another. If your child gets sent home from school with lice, it doesn’t mean you are a bad parent, or that your child isn’t clean, or that another kid at school isn’t taken care of as they should be. Of course you are going to be upset and possibly angry, but try to keep your cool, and get rid of the problem.
You can call your pediatrician who can give you a cream to mix with shampoo, and leave on for eight hours to kill all the lice and nits. But, to be honest with you, this cream and many of the over the counter treatments have a small chance of causing brain damage, and in my experience, aren’t really all that effective anyway. There are natural ways to treat the hair without risking your child’s well being.
One method you can use is to completely cover your child’s head in mayonnaise, real mayonnaise, not the fake stuff, cover it with a shower cap, and leave it on overnight, or for at least eight hours. It is a good idea to treat everyone in the house, just to be on the safe side. When time is up, wash it out well with shampoo, and then you will want to use a nit comb to get rid of any eggs or dead lice that may still be in the hair. Eggs, or nits, can be very hard to remove. You can purchase nit comb out get over the counter from your pharmacy, and that helps loosen them somewhat. It also comes with a rake like comb that tends to work a little better than the regular fine toothed nit combs. White vinegar can also help to loosen hard to get nits. Nit combing definitely does not make you or your children happy, but it is a very necessary step to solving the problem. I have found in my own battles, that it is better to nit comb everyday for about 2 weeks, we actually did it twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. By doing this for 14 days, you are sure to break the life cycle of the lice, which should help eliminate reinfestation.
Now, the bad thing is that treating the hair is not enough to kill the lice and prevent them from coming back. You have to go thru and clean your entire house and vehicle. This is going to sound extreme, but this is what I did. I started in the kids rooms, and bagged up any toy that had fur or hair, leaving them only their books, movies, and totally plastic dolls with no clothes on. I bagged them in black trash bags, and put them out in my storage building for about three months. You should be safe to bring them back in after that time, but I would still recommend washing them in the machine if you can before giving them back to your kids to play with. If you can’t put them in the washer, shake them out really well, or better yet, vacuum them off just to be on the safe side.
You will need to either clean all hairbrushes and hair bows, or toss them out and buy new ones. If you are as paranoid as I am about this, you will toss them all. All pillows, bedding, book bags, clothing, needs to be washed in water as hot as possible. Vacuum the mattress on both sides, and you can also buy a furniture spray that will kill any lice you miss. Just make sure whatever you spray it on is completely dry before you use it again, as it can be absorbed thru the skin. This spray can also be used in your vehicle on the seats and carpeting, and is okay for most upholstery.
It is also a good idea to clean all the carpets in your house as well. I know it may sound like overkill and a lot of extra work, but most children, particularly young ones, wallow around in the floor, hence possibly transferring lice or nits into the carpet, leading to a reinfestation. You will also want to take down and wash all curtains in hot water as well.
Once you have done all of this, and have made it for at least two weeks without any signs of reinfestation, you should be in the clear. Now you want to focus on how to prevent your child from getting lice again. If your children have long hair, it is a good idea to braid it, or pull it up when they go to school. They are less likely to be infested that way. You should also ask your child’s teacher to allow her to store her backpack and coat at her desk, rather than the coat closet with everyone else’s, as the joint closet is a breeding ground for lice to spread. Teach your child not to lean on other children, and not to share any grooming items, jackets, or backpacks.
Check your child once in a while to make certain there are no new nits, so that if they do get infested again, you can take action before it gets bad. Hopefully, this will make fighting the head lice battle easier for you, and will help you eliminate it from occurring again.