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Advice about Headlice
My question is NOT about the treatment for head lice but rather: Is it just us, or are head lice outbreaks increasing in the Bay Area?
Despite frequent head-checks, using own pillows at sleepovers (well, they're teens, not sure they actually do it), 4-hour NIX treatments (sometimes again in 7 days even if no new nits found, just in case), etc. etc., we've been through at least 5 occurrences in the past year and a half. 3 have remained isolated to our teen. Thanks, Tired Parent
There is a local service that comes to your home to do removal and treatment. Check out their website: http://nit-wits.com/
They come with all the combs and products they need, and do a lice/nit removal from the affected person and also check all the other members of the household. They bring a portable DVD player and movies - depending on how bad you have it, the treatment can take a while. The woman who helped us recommended using tea tree oil (a few drops rubbed into the scalp) or a shampoo with tea tree oil as a preventive. Supposedly lice do not like the smell. It could be luck or it could be the tea tree shampoo, but we have not had a recurrence since then. been there, done that, got the nit comb
My kids have had lice each of the past 2 summers and, though I have no evidence, I can't seem to stop thinking they (and *I*) have lice. Each time they did have them I caught them very early and got rid of them fairly quickly. But still, I feel nervous when friends come over for fear they will get (or give) lice to my family. I am constantly checking my kids' heads for lice and feel that nobody can do a sufficient check on my head (though I never had lice even when the kids did...I hope!). Ugh. Everyone accuses me of being obsessed with lice and they are right! HELP. Has anyone felt this way and gotten over it? HOW? Obsessed
Also, it is really okay, and probably a good idea, to comb their hair (and yours) once a week with a lice comb, IF you think of this activity as Prevention, not detection. So don't spend more than a few seconds examining the comb for lice or nits--just have a quick look, and then force yourself to look away (and then go have some chamomile tea!) Make this your mantra: Prevention is possible!
The doctor did say that if the lice did not clear up, to call him and have him prescribe a treatment. I finally did this after another week of hell, and he prescribed Malathion (believe it or not), which is a powerful pesticide. So much for cancer prevention. At any rate, once applied, the bugs did return once only (about two of them, five days later), and we treated again with NIX just because I was tired of going to the clinic. I then did a thorough combing and saw no eggs, so I think we got them in time. She seems to FINALLY be free of the bugs, but my son thinks he saw another one on the floor tonight, so I am looking carefully. By the way, there is a big difference between NIX and RID. NIX is about three times more powerful. I was using RID and now regret it since it doesn't seem to get rid of them. The doctor also told me there are now lice that are immune to RID and NIX, so if the lice keep returning, go to the doctor to get a more powerful shampoo.
Here is my word of caution to EVERYONE: DO NOT let your child use anyone else's combs, hats, hair accessories, etc. I belive my daughter got the lice from using a hair band she found at the public pool. Foolish me; I thought nothing of it. The good thing is that no one else in our family got lice, altho many of us keep itching and itching all day, wondering if we do have it.
I hope never to go through this again! Kathy
My 10-year-old daughter has had head lice for about a year now; she caught them June or July of 2006 from her father’s house. I have spent a good $1500 trying to get rid of them over the past year. When I wash her hair, I wash everyone in the households too. I also boil hair brushes and rubber bands on the stove top for 10 minutes, I wash all sheets, comforters, hair scrunchies, and jackets/sweaters in hot water and then dry completely for at least 45 minutes, and I use flea and lice killer, powder for my furniture, mattresses, and carpets then I use the lice killer spray in addition to that. I also bag up all stuffed animals and store them away for at least 60 days. When I wash our hair, I have used Nix, Rid, and even some generic brands. I have also taken her to the doctor and they prescribed body lice cream to use on her hair. Every time I wash, I spend 6-8 hours picking out every dead and live nit (egg). I have even went to the extreme of throwing out perfectly good mattresses and replacing them with new mattresses and box springs...I have also even bombed my house with flea and roach killer bombs. I don’t know what else to do; please help! C
1. Use a metal lice comb -- a plastic comb is not good enought -- and go through the hair small section by small section every night for about 3 weeks. That covers about 2 life cycles and if you miss an egg/nit one night, you should get it the next -- or sometime in the next few weeks. The second time my daughter had lice this is what we did, and I was surprised to still pull out nits after 6 days of combing. It is just difficult to see them and pull them out when freshly laid and the eggs are so small and near the scalp especially in very thick hair.
2. Try LiceRGone, available on the internet at www.licergone.com. It is an enzyme shampoo, similar to meat tenderizer, and apparently loosens the glue that holds eggs/nits to the hair shaft. In addition to shampooing, I put some in a spray bottle with water and sprayed my daughter's hair whle using the lice comb to help loosen eggs/nits.
3. Make sure the parents of your daughter's friends are checking their kids hair. Even if your daughter is lice free she can be easily re-infested by friends...I am convinced it is the girls putting their heads together while they play.
Good luck! Susan
**Bentley School Newsletter anonHerb Treat for Lice** With the recent head lice alert, this is a timely news bulletin and bit of helpful advice. Word has it that lately all the treatments for head lice (Nix, Step 2, Quell) are not working. This comes from a parent, an advice nurse at Kaiser, and a pediatrician nurse at Kaiser; the latter says she is looking into the possibility of Kaiser recommending an herbal treatment. The parent mentioned above used an herbal treatment which did work. The recipe is below: ½ teaspoon rosemary oil ½ teaspoon pennyroyal oil ½ teaspoon eucalyptus oil 8 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil Mix the herbal oils into the olive oil. Test the mixture on the inside of your wrist; it should tingle but not burn. Shampoo the hair with as hot water as possible. Comb the oil mixture into the hair (children with long hair may need the whole amount - those with short hair probably won't use that much.) Wrap in a bandana or a terrycloth showercap, and leave on overnight. Shampoo the next morning. Oils can be purchased at the Food Mill on MacArthur or Lakeshore Health Food Store.
It is a very simple combing program. It involves no chemicals. It works. I know dozens of people who have been desperate with reinfestations and have used this program successfully.
A few tips. Hair should be wet when you comb, and conditioner or oil will make combing easier and slow down the lice. Wipe the comb after every pass, and drop the live lice in a bowl of soapy water. If, like me, you have middle aged eyesight, get yourself a pair of magnifying reading glasses from the pharmacy and a head-lamp (a flashlight you wear on your head) for good lighting. Set up a video or a story on tape to keep your kid occupied while you do a thorough combing. It's possible to comb yourself (I did), but it's better if someone else can comb you. My husband was out of town for part of our lice treatment period, but another mom at my son's school checked me. Ask friends if you need to.
I also cut about six inches off my hair to make it easier to comb. With all you've been through, it might be time for some drastic haircuts for everyone. Only a complete shave will get rid of the lice completely, but shorter hair is easier to comb.
When it comes to cleaning the environment, this is a one day chore. Yes, bag up pillows and stuffies for 48 hours. That's all you need to do. Yes, vacuum rugs, upholstered furniture, car seats, head rests. This is probably overkill, but better safe than sorry. Wash and dry bedding and PJs and recently worn clothes in HOT water and HOT dryer, bearing in mind that lice cannot live off a human host for more than 48 hours.
That's it. If you follow the combing method correctly, you will have no laying lice on your child's head or yours within the first week, perhaps within the first day. Once you've reached that stage, you will not have to worry about lice in the environment, you simply have to keep combing according to the schedule. Make sure to comb EVERY person in your household. You may have lice too -- in our family, every person was infested within a week. It is far more likely that you are getting lice from each other than that you are getting it from the mattress.
Good luck! lice expert
the hair dryer method (heat kills the lice) combined with cetaphil gentle cleanser really worked for us. the key was going back and doing their prescribed treatment on days 1, 7, 14 and 21 . And for really tought outbreaks I treated a few nights the first week and then on the other prescribed nights. That way anything that hatches dies :-)
This method kills the lice better than the toxic stuff. been there
It sounds like you're not getting all the nits out of her hair. It also sounds like she is getting re-infested. Have you checked everyone in your family including your own hair? Once head lice enters the household, every member of the family has to be checked on a daily basis and treated properly when lice are found. What about your daughter's school, friends, etc? Are they having troubles with lice too? If they are, your daughter might be getting re-exposed over and over again. Make sure your daughter doesn't share hats, clothes, scarfs, combs or brushes with other kids, especially if you know there is a lice problem at her school or friend's house.
The best non-toxic way to remove lice and nits from hair is a combination of suffocating the lice with olive oil or some other vegitable oil, and combing the hair with a really good lice comb. Use a metal lice comb with very thin and close together tines. Do not use a plastic lice comb. I've read they do not work very well as their tines are not close together enough and they miss a lot of the nits.
Soak the hair with a lot of olive or vegitable oil. Wrap the head in plasic wrap or a shower cap and leave it on for at least several hours. Some even leave it on over night, although this is not recommended for small children as they may accidentally suffocate themselves in the plastic. Some use olive oil mixed with tea tree oil or castille soap. After the hair has soaked, you begin the combing process. Some wash the hair before combing, however oil left in the hair makes the combing easier. Carefully comb small sections of the hair with a metal lice comb to remove all the nits and dead lice. Rinse the comb in hot soapy water and wipe off the lice debris on a paper towel as you comb. Keep combing, rinsing and wiping. Do not run the comb through the hair without rinsing & wiping first, or you will re-apply nits and lice back into the hair. Once you finish combing all the hair and you think you got all the nits and lice out, shampoo & dry the hair with a blow dryer. Re-check the hair carefully for any missed nits or lice. If any are found, remove them with the comb and your fingers. Wash and check your daughter's hair DAILY. Repeat the oil suffocation and lice combing every few days or as soon as you find more lice or nits.
www.headlice.org/licemeister/index.htm www.headlice.org/Best of luck! Anon
AAAAAA! This is NOT true. I've posted before about this misconception (a long involved message; i'll spare you this time). That paper got a lot of press, but really did NOT demonstrate a link between tea tree oil shampoo and breast development. It's a little shocking it got published at all, because there was no there there--enough for the authors to ask for funding to do a real study, but no more. Find the paper and read it critically! Don't believe bad science journalism
Hello there, I'm researching information about head lice treatment. Is there an effective way to treat head lice? I heard of the product called Licekiller by Access Nutraceuticals. They offer all kinds of products -- Nit Glue Dissolver, Lice Killer, Lice Repellant. Do they really work? Does anyone have experience with these products? Any other non-toxic products? Any additional information/experience you can share will be greatly appreciated Anonymous
First the bad news: There is no ''product,'' natural or otherwise, that will get rid of lice, prevent eggs from hatching, or otherwise make your child lice free.
Now the good news: there is a surefire method for getting rid of lice and it is completely non-toxic. It's called combing, and you will need to do it on a near-daily basis for three weeks to ensure that you have combed out all the adult lice who lay eggs, and then all the newly hatched lice BEFORE they grow up to be adult layers.
It seems like a pain in the butt, and it is at first. But it's also extrememly effective and once you get the hang of it it's pretty quick and simple.
Do not believe anyone who tells you that any product works to kill lice or de-glue their eggs. It's balderdash. Even the most toxic products don't kill the eggs, and they often don't kill the lice either which have become immune to many treatments. I know far too many parents who thought a simple shampoo treatment would do the trick, and then ended up with an ongoing lice infestation that ended up spreading to others.
Once you start combing, you will eliminate the layers and your child will no longer be contagious.
Here is a website that will guide you through the combing process. I worship whoever designed this program, as we were, as a family, infested when we started. We never had a recurrence (Although we did get lice again a year later), and we never infected anyone else.
Follow these instructions to the letter and you will be lice free.
If you look on line there is a website that has a very funny video and treatment for an olive oil treatment for head lice. It explains the life cycle of the louse and nit and you can understand from this why consistancy is so important.
The olive oil treatment is: soak the head in olive oil.Put a plastic bag or shower cap on (you can hold it on with a clothespin. Keep it on for 8 hours (over night). In the AM, over the sink (not in the shower) comb the nits out first with a nit comb and a magnifying glass. THEN wash the hair. Every morning again, look for nits. Every 3 days do the treatment again for 3 weeks. This worked totally for us and we've never had lice again (knock on wood). Weather you do olive oil, other alternative treatments or the chemical treatments the key is consistantly getting the nits out. Good luck. It's a pain but worth doing properly been there
The recommendation is to shampoo hair with an over the counter headlice shampoo you can get at the drugstore and then comb out the nits. We used a metal flea comb from the pet store. Comb your child's hair religiously. Other treatments that people recommend such as various kinds of oils have not been shown to work (see the Harvard article). Putting olive oil or tea oil on your child's head does make the combing easier but it doesn't kill lice. In some neighborhoods, headlice may be resistant to the shampoos. There is info about what what to about this on the websites above.
Head lice infestations happen, even at the ''best'' schools. According to the CDC: ''Preschool and elementary-age children, 3-11, and their families are infested most often. Girls get head lice more often than boys, women more than men. In the United States, African-Americans rarely get head lice. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.'' Good luck!
Natural products are great and do work, but only a a few. There's details to the process that matter if you want your treatment to work. Remember, just because someone got rid of their lice using some other type of method(s) may have gotten lucky. We use natural products and do everything that has been been clinically tested and is tried and true to work! We are more than happy to advise or help with your head lice problem.
I'm checking out preschools for Fall 2006, and at one, they mentioned that they were dealing with a head lice outbreak at the moment. While I appreciate their honesty, it did set off my inner icky meter. My kid's only 2, so I'm just starting out in the world of groups of kids - how common is head lice at preschools? Should it be a red flag, or should I expect it will happen at pretty much any school? Easily grossed out
Some children in my son's class keep getting/spreading head lice. Seems to me that we are notALL ridding our homes, classroom, kids of lice completely. A few years ago someone gave me a really wonderful video about treating head lice with olive oil. This was a very funny and informative video done by one person (a man) dressed as and portraying the mom, female teacher, dad and school(female) principal. It was very well done and extremeley informative. We used this olive oil treatment (3 weeks dilligently) and never saw lice in our midst again. Unfortunately the person who gave me the video can't find it and I can't remember the exact info. Anyone know what I'm talking about or know this olive oil treatment? We all know that you have to be dilligent about picking the nits but the olive oil suffocates the freshly hatched nits which is an important part of lice ridding. Thanks for any info or help. so far, not itchy mom
FYI, in my experience, conditioner can be used instead of olive oil. It stuns lice for 20 minutes, during which they are easily combed out. See www.jcu.edu.au/school/phtm/PHTM/hlice/hlinfo1.htm for more info.
Whatever you do, there is no magic solution, since our local lice have become resistent to Nix and Ridd. Better to go non-toxic, and take the time required to eradicate and then avoid reinfection. deb
I am hoping someone can report on a succesful effort to get a school to take headlice infestations seriously. My daughter has missed three days of school this year because of headlice (and I the same days of work). The school has a shockingly casual attitude about notifying parents of outbreaks. I called the office on Friday morning to report that my child was infected, yet no notice went home to classmates' families (let alone to other classes with whom she had contact at recess) until Tuesday. When I spoke to the principal about this, he passed the blame onto the overworked office staff and said ''things were crazy'' last Friday because it was Halloween. On Tuesday, in class, my child's teacher mocked a note I sent explaining that I wanted my child to wear a headscarf in class for a few days to minimize chances of reinfestation. The teacher also told my daughter that the lice are coming from our afterschool facility - - which is highly unlikely, since headchecks are required and regular there. As far as I know, the school does no head checks, presumably because there is no school nurse. I realize the Oakland school district is in dire financial straits and there are many more worthy programs than can be funded. However, according to everything I've read, the only way to manage headlice effectively is regular headchecks and manual removal of lice and nits. If the school won't do this and is lax in notifying parents, the problem continues, gets worse and children lose valuable instruction time while being kept home for lice treatment.
I would deeply appreciate suggestions as to how to galvanize the school to take responsible action; also, if there are any legal requirements (relating perhaps to public health) for the school or the district to do more, please let me know. Tired of nit-picking
I do training on headlice at work, as part of general safety. Though it is not a safety hazard, many persons are concerned and not sure what to do if they get head lice, so we put together this training information: FACTS ABOUT HEAD LICE Head lice are parasitic insects. They live on the scalp and hair of the head. Lice do not jump or fly, but they can crawl quickly. Having head lice is very common; as many as 6-12 million people worldwide get head lice each year. Anyone can get head lice – it does not matter whether a person is young or old, dirty or clean, rich or poor. Contrary to the popular belief that lack of cleanliness causes head lice, head lice actually prefer clean scalps! HEAD LICE INFECTION How can you get head lice? Preschool and elementary-age children, 3-10, and their families are infested most often. However, anyone who comes in close contact with someone who already has head lice, contaminated clothing, and other belongings can be infected. The most common ways to get head lice are: - Direct contact with a person who has head lice – head to head contact. - Direct contact with items that have been in contact with an infested person, such as upholstered furniture, car seats, and chairs. - Using infested clothing, such as hats, head bands, scarves, coats, sweaters, and work uniforms. - Using infested combs, brushes, pillows or towels. - Head lice can also be spread in shared lockers and coat racks if you put your clothes onto infected clothing. What are the signs and symptoms of head lice infestation? - Tickling feeling of something moving in the hair. - Itching or rash on the head or neck, caused by an allergic reaction to the bites. - Scalp irritability. - Sores on the head caused by scratching. These sores sometimes become infected. - Nits visible on the hair strands. - If you are not sure whether or not you have head lice, a health care provider should make the diagnosis. Where are head lice commonly found? On the scalp, behind the ears, and near the neckline at the back of the neck. Head lice hold on to hair with hook-like claws found at the end of their six legs. Head lice are rarely found on the body, eyelashes, or eyebrows. HEAD LICE REMOVAL As soon as head lice are found, it should be treated immediately because they spread so quickly. Treatment means: shampooing, removing all nits, and cleaning things the person has used, worn or come into close contact with. Shampooing There are a number of medicated shampoos that can be used to get rid of head lice. Permethrin-based shampoos are best. Some of these shampoos you can buy over the counter, and some must be ordered by a doctor. You must use one of these special head lice shampoos. Washing with regular shampoo will not get rid of head lice. Before using any of these head lice shampoos, read all the directions and follow them exactly. Consult with a health care provider if you have allergies, asthma, epilepsy, pregnant, nursing, or treating an infant. Removing all nits This will take time but you must do it if you want to get rid of the head lice. Just shampooing is not enough, as it will not kill or remove all the nits. You can remove nits with a special nit comb – the metal combs are best – or with your fingers. Nit combing is easier if the hair is dry or slightly damp. Work in a well-lit area and work through a small section of hair at a time so you don’t miss any nits. After the shampoo and nit removal, check the infected person’s head every day for at least 10 days. If there are more signs of head lice or nits, you will have to treat again. Shampooing itself may cause itching, so only retreat if you see additional nits. Cleaning Clean everything that has been in contact with the head and neck of the person with head lice. These things may have lice or nits on them. If these items are not cleaned well, the head lice will return and continue to re-infect. - Combs, brushes, and hair accessories: Clean with any remaining medicated shampoo. Follow directions listed on the container. - Washable items: Wash in hot water (at least 130 ºF) and dry in a hot dryer (20-40 minutes). - Clothing that cannot be washed: Bag these items and have them dry-cleaned. - Non-washable, non dry-clean items, upholstered furniture, floors, and rugs: Vacuum well. For furniture, vacuum cushions and all corners and folds. Do not leave the vacuum bag in the vacuum cleaner. Seal and discard the vacuum bag after use. - Small non-washable items: Store in a tightly sealed plastic bag for at least 14 days. - Metal, plastic, and other washable surfaces: Wash with a bleach and water solution. Mix 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach with 1 gallon of water. There is no need to have your home or work area fumigated for lice. Spraying or fumigating in some cases can be harmful to co- workers, small children, and pets. Careful cleaning and vacuuming of the area is the most important way to prevent re- infection. RESOURCES: U.S. Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control / Baltimore County, Maryland, Department of Health / National Science Teachers Association, Sci Links
I recently had a conversation with a school teacher who was complaining about the problems they have with head lice. Sometimes kids are out of school for weeks or months trying to deal with it. She had never heard of my favorite treatment, which seems to be little known in Berkeley. My comb was bought overseas, so I went hunting on the web for her.
This website has all the details you'd ever need on the subject of the Robi Comb - http://www.schoolhealth.com/shop/pe_90273.asp#order. They cost $25.95 online. Many schools and PTAs appear to have bought them for bulk use at schools as well as private use at home. Kids can use them daily without much parent help, and the cost efficiency compared to chemical treatments adds up really quickly. Fiona
I seem to remember reading a discussion about the treatment of head lice on this digest, but I've looked back on my saved ones (thru last July) & can't find it. I remember thinking "Boy, I'm glad I don't have to deal with that!" Well, guess what ... now I'm trying to remember what people said because I'm very unhappy with putting poison on my children's heads (the currently infested one is a 7-year old with thick hair down to the middle of her waist, but I also have a toddler who should probably be treated too), but I also can't imagine getting every one of these practically microscopic bugs out with a comb. And how on earth do you wash everything your kids touch with their heads? If someone can tell me where the previous discussion was I'd appreciate it. Or maybe this topic could be posted again? Thanks. Melinda
Welcome to head lice hell!
I found that Daniel Wilson, the Vector Control guy for Alameda County (567-6828) has really sensible and good information. You may want to call him.
Here are what tips I know ---
Buy Nix -- the other kinds are worthless. Also buy some Prell and an Innomed lice comb, which you can get at the Solano Ave. Pharmacy. These are the essential items.
Wash hair first with Prell. Other shampoos actually have things in them (creme rinse things, etc.) which coat the nits and protect them from the Nix. The wash with Nix and let it sit for 20 minutes, then rinse it out.
Then comb every square inch of your kids head, no latter how painful and horrendous. No lice shampoo is 100 per cent effective against nits, so if you don't get rid of them, some will hatch and you will be doing this all over again. (The innomed comb is essential -- the comb in the Nix box is a piece of crap.) Try to do this in daylight, so you can see the nits.
Wash all her clothes and bedding in hot water. Things you can't wash (like pillows), put in the dryer for about 20 minutes. Pour boiling water over all hair brushes. Vacuum your house well, including the couch and the car.
Check your toddler now. You have to do everyone at once, otherwise they keep infecting each other.
It really is hell, and you'll probably have to repeat all this about three times to get them all, so keep checking you kids' hair.
Try to get the school on top of it, and instituting regular lice checks. Obviously, it doesn't help if you get rid of them only to be reinfected each time your kid goes to school.
It is sort of unnerving to be putting insecticide on your kid's head. According to Daniel Wilson, the rate of absortion of the poison through skin is pretty low, so it is in theory pretty safe. If you are completely opposed to it, though, I have heard that covering the child's head completely with vaseline, and leaving it on overnight (under a shower cap) also works. Apparently this suffocates the lice and the nits. I guess the problem here is getting it all out again. And you'd still want to wash all clothes and linens and vacuum thoroughly.
It really is awful, and the most horrible part is that it will probably happen again.
Best of luck ---
We had 4 Nix failures. At first it's hard to tell because you don't know if it was a treatment failure or your child became reinfested because of contact. Children put their heads together a lot at school/childcare, and it's impossible to have them do otherwise. I finally went on the Internet and discovered that many other parents had experienced Nix failures and found herbal/natural treatments to work better.
Current Western medicine method is quicker but utilizes chemicals that are becoming ineffective. A Kaiser advice nurse actually said to leave it on all night (Nix itself says no longer than 10 minutes). They also have side effects, such as reactions in asthmatic children (don't use "Rid" for them). And they are very expensive. We spent $100 in 4 Nix treatments for our family ($19.95 for 3). Laundry costs mount up.
In desperation and exhaustion, I searched the Internet: olive oil or baby oil on dry hair until it's drenched under a shower cap for 1 hour. It worked for us. Then follow it up with daily washings of tea tree oil shampoo. One can get tea tree oil from Body Time. Some people have had good results with using just the tea tree oil, but I was not able to locate dosage/method information. You can get the shampoo from many health food stores. Bryl cream also works well, I've heard. The idea is that the lice are smothered to death. Only side effect of this method is that hair stays somewhat oily for about a week. One Internet person said they did this treatment daily (oil under the shower cap) for 1 week and all lice were gone. My child has length waist hair and I did it three times over a week's period -- and did it again at week 2. Worked! Keeping my child's hair braided also helped reduce reinfestation.
Convention says the whole family has to do it at the same time because you might get rid of it in one child and then the other was infested just prior to treatment, and it gets passed back and forth. From first hand experience, I find the oil treatment to be far superior to various pesticide products -- tried 3 brands over the years. A great deterrent is hair dryers.
I don't think nit combs do the job. They are ultimately best removed one at a time (fingernails help) by checking through the hair daily for a couple of weeks. Halogen lights are a good aid. Schools tend to require nit-free hair (even though once they are longer than 1/2" from the scalp they aren't viable) because they don't want to be responsible for making a mistake in measuring and a "nit free" policy is easier for them. But I have been called because one long-gone nit was was found and had to take my child home -- it's a nuisance but in the long run probably the only way schools can deal with it.
A great deterrent is using a hair dryer! Good luck, Tamara
For veterans of the lice wars, here is my question: am I doing too little or too much? I have seen no evidence of adult lice in my daugher's hair (ie no hatched nits, easy to see on dark hair) since school started, but I keep coming up with eggs every time I use a lice comb on her, despite having a good lice comb and trying to be thorough. Not many, and (I think) fewer every time--but still, they are there.
Because I read that the shampoos don't kill about 30% of the eggs --those in the first 4 days of existance--I have been putting a heavy conditioner on her hair at night (kolesterol--thicker than mayonnaise) every 2-3 days & having her sleep with shower cap. Because of the nits I find in the morning after she rinses, I have also been using Nix weekly for at least three weeks. Seems longer; maybe it has been. Every time I do either treatment I boil her combs, change her sheets, vacuum the bed & car seat, and freeze or hot-water wash everything I know comes in contact with her head. I have not taken away all her toys & treated them, however, and I may have missed a few of her shirts when washing with hot water.
I don't even know if the smothering technique affects the eggs. (although of course it helps get them out & her hair is actually in gorgeous shape from all the conditioner). Shouldn't they all be dead? Should I be worried about her toys if I haven't seen evidence of live lice? This is driving me crazy. Any suggestions would be welcome. Mary Ann
My kids and I were infested a few years ago and the whole thing was very stressful. I considered shredding all our belongings because none of the stuff was working and all I did was laundry, spray stuff, comb hair, pick nits and go to work. I'd get to work and the baby sitter would call me to get my son, because he still had nits.
As I understand it, the eggs may be dead, if they are white. Once the creature develops inside, it turns brown. Anyway, you're doing enough. I found that Nix is the best. The lice shouldn't be in her toys unless they are stuffed animals. Then just bag them for a few weeks.
I don't know about the hair conditioner.
I have a problem that I hope I can get help with. My stepdaughter lives with us but visits her mother every weekend. I don't mind that she visits her as I think it important that she remain close to her. However, I have a problem with these visits as she comes back with lice. I know the lice problem has been addressed extensively in this guide, but I don't want any advice on how to get rid of them as I have PhD in it now from all the hours that I have spent cleaning out her head and all the methods that I have tried. The problem is that her mother refuses to do anything about the problem with her other 2 children, not my husbands. My stepdaughter is now 10 years old and this has been an on-going problem since she was about a year old. I have been in her life since age 3 and have cleaned her since then. Talking to her mother only serves to aggravate me, and my husband is tired of talking to her as it seems to serve no purpose. I have been very patient in the cleaning and have even sent shampoo, Rid, Tea Tree Oil, etc. to her mother, but to no avail. At 10 years old, my stepdaughter is now embarrassed and wants no one to know (my in-laws were here visiting for months and I had to hide to clean her in my own home). Yesterday, I came home to discover that my 1-year old has now been infected. I don't know what to do as the only alternative is to not send her to her mother's home. However, I see this as punishment for my stepdaughter as she really looks forward to these visits. Can anyone give me any advice? Do I have any recourse?
Parenthetically, the mom may not always be the culprit. Head lice are a huge problem now even in exclusive private schools --and your daughter is a natural target if she wears her hair down --it touches every chair and every desk she sits in, and probably alot of her schoolmates too. If she is not telling her friends and you are not telling the school, she may be part of the problem--could even be re-infecting herself. My own daughter had lots of exposures, but no lice until she let her hair grow. How about promising her an attractive short haircut? Mary Ann
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