There’s no topic too taboo for us to tackle here at Kids + Love + Acupuncture, especially when it comes to keeping kids healthy without toxic chemicals. So, today we’re talking about lice! Those little creepy crawlers are SO gross! Yuck! Just thinking about them makes my head itch!
Did you know that the toxic chemicals in lice shampoos don’t work?
Michelle, and her friend Katie, are the Lice Wives of Morgan Hill and they’re here to help.
Here’s what Michelle & Katie have to share about non-toxic lice eradication…
They’re creepy, they’re crawly, they’re incredibly scary, and they’re coming to a child near you. HEAD LICE!!!
The Lice Wives have seen four lice infestations between four families over the past four years. We know lice! The following information is gleaned from a lice removal professional who taught us once and never had to return. You too can conquer lice if you follow the following information.
Toxic Chemicals Don’t Work
Last summer our kids got head lice and we rushed right down to the drugstore for the strongest chemicals available. We went home, poured the toxic stuff on our kids’ heads, and watched as the live lice kept right on crawling. Modern day lice have developed immunity to the chemicals available, so you have to try a different strategy. The unfortunate part is that the non-toxic route involves more time commitment on your part, but the end result is a total eradication of the lice.
Understanding the Life-cycle of Lice is Important
Once you understand how the lice live and breed, you can take steps to prevent a re-infestation (which is actually a new hatching of your original lice, rather than a true re-infestation).
Lice have four stages—1) nits, 2) baby lice, 3) juvenile lice, and 4) full grown lice. Nits are the eggs of the lice. Contrary to popular belief, the white things are not the lice eggs, they are the empty egg sacs. If you have white things stuck on your hair follicle, you have live lice in your hair. Nits look like a comma and are small. To distinguish them from dandruff, you can blow off the dandruff but nits will stick.
Baby lice are very hard to see. They are about the size of a pinhead.
This is the most dangerous stage of lice because they can infest anyone. Lice live off the blood of the host, but they are very blood-type specific. Once they eat off one host, if they travel to another host who has a different blood type they will explode. However, baby lice have yet to feed off the host, so if your child picks up a few babies they will quickly start a family whose diet is specific to your child’s blood type.
Juvenile lice are smaller than the adult lice, but they are already feeding on the host and getting ready to lay eggs of their own. Adult lice are in the swing of the process: eating, pooping, and making babies. It is the lice feces that makes our heads itch, so once the itching starts you are probably already in the throes of a lice infestation.
If you see all four stages of lice in your child’s head, you have had the lice for a while and you will need to be vigilant about completing the eradication protocol outlined in Table 1.
Myths about Lice
Myth #1: Having lice means we are dirty.
Lice love everyone, regardless of race, gender, age, or socio-economic status. It doesn’t matter! It is not something to be ashamed of, but you must take care of the situation as soon as you realize there is a problem.
Myth #2: Lice can jump!
Actually, lice can only crawl and they live for 24 hours off the host. Babies and nits can live for 48 hours. If you sit on the couch or lay on a pillow that has a live louse on it, the louse will crawl up your hair shaft and (if it is a pregnant female) lay its eggs in your head, starting the life-cycle over again.
Myth #3: My child has lice and I MUST clean my house from top to bottom.
Please don’t kill yourself cleaning your house with a ton of bleach or hot water! YOU DON’T NEED TO WASH ANYTHING! First, strip all the beds and put the sheets directly into a HIGH setting dryer for 20 minutes. Then, put all the child’s stuffed animals, hair accessories, hats, and dress-up clothes (or anything else that has touched her head and can’t go in the dryer) in a garbage bag in the garage for 48 hours. If your child has a special animal that must be in the bed each night, pop it in the dryer on HIGH setting for 20 minutes to kill the lice. Lice will live through a washing, so the 20 minutes on HIGH in the dryer is a necessity. Vacuum the back of your couch, or wipe it with white vinegar if it is leather. You only need to vacuum your floor if your child has a tendency to roll around on it. Vacuum or wipe down car seats and headrests as well.
Myth #4: I got rid of the lice and they are back again.
In truth, you probably never got rid of the lice in the first place. If you miss two or three lice, they are enough to get the cycle started again. You must follow the eradication process outlined in Table 1 if you want to avoid a “re-infestation.”
The Lice Eradication Process
Getting rid of the lice is not a one-time fix. It is a process that will take several weeks, but if done correctly, it will save you and your child a lot of pain and anguish. First, you must acquire the supplies. You will need conditioner, a roll of paper towels, a bowl of warm water, a zip-lock bag, peppermint essential oil, and a Nit-Free Terminator comb (see picture above).
DO NOT USE THE CHEAP COMB THAT COMES FROM THE LOCAL DRUGSTORE. Rush ship this comb from Amazon and use only this comb! It has specialized tines that make it able to remove all stages of lice, from the nits to the adults.
Next, put up your own hair or be sure it doesn’t come in contact with your child’s hair. Wash your hands before and after the process and NEVER touch your own head while combing through your child’s head. (We always wear an apron for extra protection).
1. Start by washing the child’s hair and applying the conditioner. The conditioner will make it easier for the comb to slide through the hair.
2. Comb through the hair and immediately put that comb in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes to disinfect. (Obviously, if it is plastic, be sure it won’t melt.)
3. Break the hair into sections so that you are only combing a tiny section at a time.
4. You will comb the child’s hair in sections using the Terminator comb. Hold the comb at 45 degree angle facing toward the head and comb down. Wipe both sides of the comb on one piece of paper towel. Immediately place the paper towel in the baggie.
5. Continue working in that one small section of hair, combing in every direction (down, up, front, back). Wipe the comb each time on a fresh paper towel and rinse it in the bucket of warm water.
6. Once you have finished the whole head, seal the Ziploc, pour out the water, and wipe up your workspace with white vinegar.
7. Put two drops of peppermint oil on your hands and comb through your child’s head. This will repel any stray lice that might be living on a pillow or stuffed animal.
8. Put all combs and hair clips you used into a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes to sanitize.
9. Check yourself immediately after you have finished treating your child. Remove your clothes, put them in a hamper for at least 48 hours and jump in the shower. Use the same process as you used with your child and check all adults in the house.
10. Follow the protocol listed under Table 1 to truly eradicate the lice. We know it seems like a lot, but if you follow the timeline, you will get rid of them once and for all!
Table 1: Timeline for Lice Eradication
|Week||Frequency of Combing|
|Week #1||Once a day|
|Week #2||Every other day|
|Week #3||Every third day|
|Week #4||No combing: lice prevention strategies|
|Monthly||Comb to check for lice|
You Can Prevent Lice
We feel like every time we turn around there is a notice coming home from school about head lice in our children’s classrooms. Even though we know that a notice goes out if only one child from the grade level has lice, we want our children to be safe from infestation. You can use the following prevention strategies to minimize the chances your child gets lice:
- Cut your son’s hair and put your daughter’s hair in braids or a bun to prevent contact with another child’s hair.
Apply peppermint oil (the external kind) to your child’s head any time she goes to school, the theater, or anywhere else she might encounter a chair.
- Talk to your child about sharing combs, sweaters, hair clips, and jackets. Teach your child the importance of keeping his things separate from his friends.
- Talk to the school about lice and how it is spread and see if they are willing to take steps to prevent a school outbreak.
- Do a monthly lice check, combing your child’s head, to be sure that no new lice have moved in. The Lice Wives actually have “lice parties” with snacks, movies, and games so the kids see the process as fun and not a punishment.
Even though lice are scary and persistent, if you put the time in you can eradicate them from your home without toxic chemicals. Good luck!
BIO: Katie Hogan and Michelle Francis, The Lice Wives of Morgan Hill, have seen four lice infestations between four families over the past four years. We know lice! The following information is gleaned from a lice removal professional who taught us once and never had to return. You too can conquer lice if you follow the information above.
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