So I’m a first time school Mum - and something that scares me is my kids getting head lice and nits. Seriously, it freaks me out. Like I’m scratching while I write this!
The good thing is while they are totally gross, they actually do you no harm or carry any disease. Small consolation, right?
So let's get the low down on how to get rid of lice and nits, should you be lucky enough to have them visit your house.
The Facts about Head Lice and Nits
Adults are called lice and their eggs are called nits. Often treatments only kill one or the other, hence they can be really hard to get rid of once and for all.
As time goes on, and we use more and more chemical concoctions, these little critters are morphing into super lice, making it harder and harder to kill them.
A few myths about head lice and nits:
- they can't jump (which means that they are only transmitted through head to head contact);
- they cannot survive in hats and helmets and therefore there is definitely no risk of transmission through toys, furniture or carpets.
- This also means there's not need to strip beds or wardrobes.
- Lice need human hair to survive!
- So perhaps don't share hair brushes, just in case!
4 Easy Ways to Prevent Head Lice and Nits
Lice don’t like clean hair
This is a long standing belief and while there's not actual scientific ruling, what is believed is that lice find it hard to lay their eggs in dirty hair due to the oil and dirt at the base of the scalp.
Clean hair makes it easier for them. That's not to say that if you never wash your child's hair, they'll never get nits, however, it is something to think about. Maybe washing their hair every other day or half the time you normally would.
Keep Hair Tied Up
While the nits (eggs) stick to the base of the hair shaft, adult lice can be transmitted from child to child through direct head to head contact. While not totally fool proof, ensuring your child's hair is tied up if it's long can go a long way to preventing your child from having them. Long hair should be plaited or put in a bun rather than a pony tail.
Use a Preventative Spray
Using a preventative spray or popping some essential oils on their hair elastics can put an extra barrier between your child and these itchy little critters.
Making your own "nit stopper" spray is easy too. Just grab a spray bottle, fill with water and add around 12-15 drops of tea tree oil - you can also use lavender, eucalyptus or rosemary oil too if you have them. Spray your child's hair daily before they go to school.
Check Your Child's Hair Regularly
Finding them fast is the key to keeping the cycle at bay. Make it a routine to check your child's hair each day if possible. The sooner you catch them, the sooner you can get rid of them and break the cycle.
4 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Head Lice and Nits Forever
Combing is Key
Of all the methods to get rid of lice and nits, one thing is certain - you need to comb! Even if you use cheap conditioner or even a concoction from the pharmacy, combing is king and will help to ensure that you get every last egg.
Chances are you’ll need to repeat the combing process over a few weeks to ensure that they don’t return. Pop on a DVD to entertain your child and comb away!
Coat the Hair in Cheap Conditioner
Rather than using expensive and chemical ridden insecticides, one of the best ways to get rid of lice and nits is to coat the hair in cheap condition. It is said that this clogs the pores on the lice and gives you time to comb through the hair, getting rid of them and their eggs.
Combing is necessary to remove the sticky eggs from the hair shaft. But combs can be reused and using cheap conditioner means that this is much easier on your budget than more expensive concoctions.
Coconut Oil + Tea Trea Oil
Coconut oil, with a few drops of tea tree oil can achieve the same result as the cheap conditioner mentioned above. This may be a better option for you if you have a low tox home or just don't like the thought of cheap hair products.
Use a Hair Straightener
Sounds strange, but using a hair straightener can fry the lice living in your kids hair. This is especially useful if your child has long hair - it can be hard to ensure the heat kills the eggs right near the scalp, but will definitely kill any eggs on the hair shaft.
Have you had an infestation of head lice and nits in your home? How did you get rid of them ... and how did you stop them coming back?
Download our FREE Easter Basket Printable
Easter Basket Printable
Download this sweet little Easter Basket Printable - an easy, mess free craft activity!
About the Author
Kate is the founder of South West Mums, coffee connoisseur, FIFO Wife and Mumma to two boys. She loves to explore and write about life in South West WA, motherhood, business and the effects of FIFO on family life. You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook or read more of her blog here.