If you’ve got young children then at one stage or another you will experience head lice. Those nasty critters don’t discriminate and once they jump on board, it is a nightmare to get them off! But here are some tips and tricks to help prevent an infestation.
As they say, the best form of defence is attack, so we’ve gathered tips and tricks shared by the real mums at Healthy Mummy HQs to keep them away.
Our tips come from mums who swear by their method. Why not try them on for size and hopefully you can get through early schooling without bringing those itchy little creatures home.
In order to be able to prevent, spot or remove head lice, you have to know exactly what it is you are looking for.
Head lice are tiny wingless insects about the size of a sesame seed. The eggs are a little smaller and cling firmly to strands of hair.
They live and breed in the hair of humans (and animals). Head lice feed on blood by biting the scalp, but are not dangerous. They cause itching and, at worst, can cause skin irritation.
This is one time that sharing is not caring. Head lice can spread by sharing personal items such as brushes and combs. Research has proved that sharing hats does not spread head lice.
They are also capable of Tarzan-like swinging from one strand of hair to another if children are in close proximity. This if often the case in the first few years of schooling.
First step is containing that long beautiful hair by putting it all up in a tight pony, plait or bun. The less strands of hair available for those pesky little bugs to swing from, the less chance they have of grabbing hold.
Once the hair is up and away, douse it in hair spray. Theory is that the hair becomes too gluggy and sticky for the nits to take hold of.
The biggest wives tale of all. Now, I’m not sure if this one evolved due to the old-school misconception that head lice gravitated towards ‘dirty children’ or if it’s true.
However, since my first bout of head lice I no longer wash hair every second day and they those awful critters have not come home since.
A couple of drops of tea tree oil in your child’s shampoo or some lavender oil around their hair line is said to deter head lice.
Research has investigated the effectiveness of these oils, and while they don’t completely repel, they do aid in deterring the head lice from habituating in a child’s hair.
A lot of people are anti chemical use for children. However, my personal choice is chemical treatments. This is because my experience as a child with head lice was horrendous. I pay the money for the best on the market.
If you don’t want to use those chemicals, the next best option is cheap nasty conditioner. Lather your kids dry hair and let the nits suffocate and then comb out.
Even if you don’t spot any live head lice, give your children’s hair a once over with the conditioner option and a good nit comb every month or two. This will remove any eggs that you may have missed with the naked eye and help in keeping them away.
Apparently they can’t stand the heat! So up the ante on the blow dryer. Or if you’re desperate, use your hair straightener and burn those suckers out.
If you use the conditioner or chemical option it’s crucial you get a quality fine-toothed nit comb and brush out the eggs and louse. Yes it’s frustrating but it’s necessary.
At the end of the school term, if your child bought head lice home or not, don’t feel like it was a personal choice.
Nits will literally take hold of any head they can, whether your child is wearing Versace of Vinnies – it cannot be helped.
So just keep doing your best.
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