Head Lice Removal And Prevention
The Dreaded Phone Call, Your Child Has Lice?!?!?!
Most parents with children in school or daycare have been here or will be here it is almost inevitable but catching these pesky critters early and being aware of the treatments, preventative measures can help you be prepared to get rid of them before they take over your home and become an infestation.
I am a mother of three girls and girls are more likely to catch lice than boys, but don’t let that tarnish your thoughts, boys can get lice too! It is just that girls have a better “home” if we must call it that for the lice to live and thrive in, where boys generally have shorter hair and are less likely to be a suitable home for lice.
I previously worked at a private daycare where I was dubbed the Lice Lady. This was mainly due to the fact I had two children at the time, had dealt with lice before, and many of the other daycare teachers were young women out of college with no real experience in spotting lice. As much as I cringe and scratch as I write this, I would much rather help others be aware and give them tips to get the issue dealt with properly, so itch away I will.
Calling In Reinforcement
Now I was not always the Lice Lady, or experienced in the least when it came to lice. It was not until my oldest daughter got lice for the first time, let me tell you I had ZERO idea what I was doing or how to deal with it. I cried for a bit mainly out of frustration and then picked up the phone to call my mother. She tried her best, but with her vision getting worse in age she was no longer the Lice Lady, and I was left feeling helpless as the traditional shampoo method was not working.
This was when I went online, thank god for the internet. I typed LICE in google and hit search. I was so happy to have found a search result for a business called The Lice Squad. Totally at my wit’s end on how to deal with the issue I decided to call. A very nice woman serviced my area and came to my home.
She checked all three of us because I was so worried I had it, but only Abby had the pesky bugs. Once Hailee and I were given the all clear she turned her attention to Abby. During the process she taught me how to spot both the bugs and the eggs, as well as the difference between an egg vs hair product residue or dandruff. She showed me how to remove them without the use of harsh shampoos containing chemicals and gave me the all mighty Louse Trap Comb. Of course I had to pay for this service, but as a first timer on dealing with lice it was well worth the price. I learned so much from the experience and lessons she gave me while she was at my home.
Head Lice 101
Now that I am somewhat of an expert I will be giving you the 101 on how to remove lice should your child get it. As well I will be sharing with you tips on preventing those little bugs from making an appearance on your child’s head.
The most effective lice egg removal tool on the market today. Used by Lice Squad’s professional Nit Pickers. Provides safe, easy and effective head lice removal. Won’t tear or break the hair and can be sanitized for multiple uses. This unbreakable tool is guaranteed to work for you or your money refunded.
I highly suggest you invest in a good Louse Comb. At $24.99 the Lice Squads Louse Trap Comb is a life saver. The way it is designed is key and is what sets it apart from others that I experienced as a child. The Lice combs that come in those shampoo boxes are just as horrible as the shampoo.
You can also buy the Fairy Tales Terminator Lice and Nit Comb which is pretty much identical and works just the same. It often goes on sale so be sure to grab it.
What Are Head Lice?
- Head lice are small grey or reddish-brown bugs 1mm – 4mm in length depending on their age.
- Lice live on the human head.
- They do not live on pets or on other parts of the body.
- Lice feed on blood and cannot survive off the head for more than 24 to 48 hours without feeding.
- They also do not hop, jump or fly – Thank God.
- Lice lay eggs, these are tear-drop shaped, and are glued to the hair shaft on an angle. They are also only glued to one side of the hair shaft.
- Viable eggs are typically brownish/yellow to caramel in color.
- Empty egg cases or dead eggs are called nits. These are clear, opaque, and almost see through.
- Do not rely on a product that claims to kill lice and their nits as it is the eggs that need to be killed or removed.
- Viable lice eggs are never white in colour.
- Female lice lay 3 to 5 eggs per day and live for 30 days, they need a male to mate with.
- Lice eggs take 7 to 10 days to hatch and another 7 to 10 days to be mature enough to mate.
What Do I Look For?
Look for lice and their eggs in the common spots they hide. These are around the ears, at the crown of the head, and at the nape of the neck. It is best to do this in an area with bright lights. Lice lay their eggs close to the scalp, but also look along the whole hair shaft as this is not always the case. Do not confuse DEC plugs, hair casts, or other hair debris with lice eggs. Remember if it is white like paper or snow, or moves easily, it is not a lice egg.
- To succeed at eliminating a head lice infestation, one must remove all lice eggs and lice from the hair.
- The lice eggs are tear-shaped, usually brown in colour, and are attached to only one side of the hair shaft.
- Lice egg look-alikes are white and they surround the hair shaft. They are often misdiagnosed as lice eggs.
- Nits are empty or dead lice eggs. They are see-through and will stick to the hair shaft on one side.
- Most mothers waste both time and energy doing countless washing of bed sheets and clothes. Lice are not living in your environment. They are living on your head. See my 4 easy steps to cleaning your home below.
- Pesticide sprays and treatments should be used with caution, or in my opinion not at all.
- Don’t rely on products that claim to kill nits. Lice eggs must be removed by hand.
- Head lice are not living in your home, on your furniture, or in your bedding. They prefer to be on your head.
- The good news is that a louse will die within 24 to 48 hours without a blood meal from you.
HOW TO REMOVE LICE
- Sit your child in a well-lit area. I suggest making them sit in a sturdy chair with them facing the chair backing. This way you have full access to their head.
- Use a hair clip to section off the hair you are not currently working on at the top of their head.
- Place conditioner and a small amount of water into a spray bottle. You don’t want too much water, but enough to make the conditioner not so thick.
- Start with the bottom section at the nape of the neck spray the conditioner solution to soak the hair. Take the lice comb and start at the left working your way right. After each comb through wipe the comb off on a paper towel. You will see any lice or eggs come off onto the paper towel. Remember to not only comb downward, but also sideways, and upwards to ensure a good comb in each section. Continue repeating this for each new section, remembering to take down a small amount of hair at a time to ensure maximum removal.
- After you have done their whole head rinse their hair out, blow dry, and re-check. If you see anymore eggs or lice repeat the removal steps until no more eggs or lice are found.
- I suggest for the next 7-10 days checking their hair twice a day to ensure you have got them all.
- Once your child is lice and egg free for 24-48 hours they can return to school. I suggest making an appointment with your family doctor to have them do a check and give you a letter.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR HOME
- Place all items that can safely be dried on high heat in a dryer for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Vacuum items that cannot be dried.
- If an item can not be dried or vacuumed set it aside for 24 to 48 hours. That is it!
Remember, the focus of head lice elimination should be on the manual removal of all lice eggs and nits from the head. Lice are not living in the environment, they are living on you. Cleaning should be done initially after your first big nitpick. It can be repeated every 4th to 5th day after follow-up treatments.
Head Lice Prevention Tips
Doing your best to prevent head lice really helps your whole community. If everyone took the little time to follow some easy prevention tips I think we would see the cases of lice drop drastically.
Educate your children
Have a talk about head lice with your children. Let them know the things that they can do to avoid getting head lice. Children are most susceptible to getting lice and usually bring them home from school or day care.
Avoid head to head or hair to item contact
Keeping the hair up and away from other people’s heads is the best thing that you can do to avoid getting head lice. Sharing hats, combs, towels, and other hair items is not advised. Keep in mind that you may also get head lice from car seats, bus, plane, and train head rest. And never try on hats in a department store. For girls placing their hair in a pony tail as well as giving their hair a light spray with hair spray can also prevent getting lice.
Take a peek
Daily lice checks in homes with children is key to prevention. Check your child’s hair both before and after school. Catching a head lice infestation early is key. It helps to avoid a severe infestation, the spread to others, and makes getting rid of lice should your children get it so much easier.
Report a head lice infestation ASAP
Tell your school, day care, and other families that you have been in contact with so that they too can check and treat if necessary. If you don’t speak up lice may spread and continue to go around, eventually making its way back to your home.
Have any tips you would like to share? Let us know in the comment section below.