They’re creepy, sneaky and will make your skin crawl. It’s one of the biggest nuisances you can experience as a parent. You’ve just discovered that your child has lice. Or maybe you haven’t yet experienced this nasty adventure in motherhood, but I highly suggest you save this post for when it happens to you, but it likely will. Over 59% of kids deal with lice, especially in the Fall when school returns. If you’ve just found lice on a family member, you’re probably in a panic. There’s so much out there on the internet about how you can treat these bugs at home, but where do you start? How can you get rid of these bugs safety and as fast as possible?
I’ve been there. I too have been a mom in a panic, not knowing where to go first. I learned a lot when our family went through this and I want to share with you what I learned and so you can learn from my mistakes of what NOT to do!
As you deal with these awful critters, you’ll likely be bouncing all over the spectrum of emotions: laughter to tears, disgust to fascination and most definitely confusion but soon success! During my experience, I was blessed to find an extremely helpful lice removal professional who taught me all about lice, how to remove it and how to prevent it.
How to Remove Lice
- Get a Lice Comb – A lice removal comb is the only way to effectively remove all lice and nits (eggs). If you’re fortunate to have not experienced lice yet, buy a comb now before you need it (Seriously! You’ll thank me someday!). The only comb that worked for us was the LiceMeister comb. It’s teeth are much closer together than a comb that you’ll find in a pharmacy. It works without the need for any chemicals and works on any type of hair, even on very thick hair. If you are in a bind a need a comb right now, get a comb from a pharmacy to get you by temporarily, but also order the LiceMeister now. The comb from the pharmacy will remove any adult lice, but you’ll need the finer tooth comb to remove babies and eggs. You may think you get it all with a typical lice comb, but you won’t believe how much more is found using the LiceMeister and how much faster this will all be behind you.
- Before you begin combing someone’s hair, pull your own hair back into a tight ponytail and put on a washable apron.
- Section on the hair into 4 – 6 sections, depending on how much hair the person has. Starting in one section, scrap the comb along the scalp and pull the full length of the hair. Place any lice or eggs into a small bowl of vinegar. This will kill them quickly. Have tweezers nearby because the bugs will often get stuck in the comb. Continue combing each section until each swipe comes out completely clean. Comb from various angles (side to side, up to down, down to up, etc) to be sure all areas are combed. Repeat this on each section of the hair.
- Clean Your Home – Lice can live off of a human head for a few days, so it’s very important to thoroughly clean anywhere the person has been.
- Machine wash all sheets, bedding, towels and clothing that the person was wearing using using hot water and then dry all items on high heat in the dryer. Alternatively, you can put it all in the dryer for at least 20 minutes on high heat. Don’t forget to collect any clothing that may be at school still like PE clothes!
- Put all other items that the person has been in contact with into the dryer on high heat if possible, including backpacks, jackets, gym bags, stuffed animals, blankets, pillows, hair accessories, etc.
- If there are toys, stuffed animals or other items that can’t go in a dryer, you can place these items in garbage bags and seal with a twist tie or rubber band. Keep them in there for 2 weeks to suffocate any lice that may be on the items.
- Boil a pot of water and place all all hair brushes and hair accessories that the person has been in contact with in the pot of water (turn off the heat once you place items in the pot).
- Vacuum all hard floors, carpets and furniture where the person has been. Furniture can also be cleaned with a lint roller.
- Vacuum your car and car seats too!
- Check All Family Members – Unfortunately, it is very likely that other family members will also have lice. Lice is easily transferred with any kind of bodily contact or if your personal items have come into contact with an infected person (combs, brushes, jackets, furniture, backpacks, etc). If any other family members have lice, repeat all above steps with them.
- Contact a Professional – If you still need help after doing everything above, I highly recommend contacting a professional who removes lice (yes people do this as a career – I had no idea!). They will likely follow the same steps but can often be more thorough than we can. If you live locally in San Luis Obispo County/Northern Santa Barbara county, I can’t say enough about how much I appreciate Tara Sanchez from Nit-Picking – Lice Removal.
What Not To Do!
- Don’t Buy an Over the Counter Lice Removal Kit – Today’s lice are actually immune to many of today’s lice removal chemicals. I had no clue! Even though my intuition told me I shouldn’t put these horrendous chemicals on my child, I did buy a kit in the midst of my panic and used the shampoo on my daughter. Even though I saturating her head in this stuff, none of the lice I combed out of her were dead. All were still alive. The chemicals had done nothing except expose her to potential harm.
- Don’t Google it! – If you’re in a panic and you google how to get rid of lice, be prepared to overwhelmed with the ridiculous amount of DIY remedies. There was no time to randomly choose a method that may or may not work. You want to get rid of these things now so stick to combing only, because it’s the only way to effectively get rid of them.
How to Prevent Lice
- Comb through the hair of everyone in the family a few times a month using a lice comb.
- Spray a combination of water and tea tree essential oil on everyone’s hair as often as possible. The oil helps make it difficult for lice to attach their eggs to a hair strand.
- Once a month, saturate your hair with coconut oil or olive oil. Sleep with the oil in your hair overnight and then wash out in the morning. The saturation will kill any lice that may be trying to move in!
I really do hope that my experiences make your unfortunate experience much less stressful. It’s no fun at all, but these tips can make it much faster to take care of and hopefully keeps the little critters from moving on to anyone else in your home!
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