Unfortunately it is this time of the year that lice attacks are common. After 3 long happy years of having my daughter in the preschool centre she eventually brought home some new friends from school… And we weren’t happy to see them!!! It was lice, eeeek, I said, by that time I didn’t even know how to recognise them on my angel’s pretty blond hair. A cousin of ours, being a teacher herself, helped us diagnose the lice presence and gave us tips on how to get rid of them. For the time being at least.
Back in the day, when I was a school kid I would catch lice all the time. My mom had become an expert in getting it out of my scalp. Still at the time powder treatments were prescribed and I can still recall scratching my head and getting my nails all powdery… eeek, I hated that. Plus at the time this treatment would take days with no end and endless combing drama (my hair is fine and curlyish, thus rendering the combing process rather painful).
This is what I’ve learnt from this latest experience:
- Lice are not as big and as black as they were back in my childhood years. They’ve… evolved into tiny and brown (very hard to distinguish on a blond’s head).
- Lice do attack mothers with dyed hair (ha! and I thought I was lice-proof, silly me)
- A single head louce reproduces by 8 each and every single day. So even if only one is left alive on the head, there goes the infestation cycle all over again!!!!
- For some reason lice prefer girls (I suppose it has to do with the long hair? I do not know. The boys in the family have managed SO FAR to remain lice-free)
- Live lice, when removed and crushed (between two fingernails), make a “click” sound.
- An over the counter remedy applied at home does not always work… unfortunately so… 3 days after the application of the lice medication on our heads, lice are still present and alive… (at least on my daughter’s head, I haven’t got down to persuade hubby to check mine and auto-check is kind of not possible).
- A mom needs to have a stash of at least two products: the lice “killer” and the lice “preventer”. The first one is usually applied after shampooing the head and it’s application lasts for about 10′, then it needs to be rinsed off and in some cases brushing with a blow dryer should follow or it can be applied on dry hair for the same amount of time, depending on the product. The lice killer should be repeated twice or thrice with 7-day intervals in between to nail any nits hatching. The second, the preventer, is usually in the form of a lotion or spray (for longer hair) and paediatricians opt for natural sprays, so hey are not inhaled by kiddos. In general medication against lice are not usually recommended for children under 2 years of age, although some companies like Apivita or Hedrin carry products that can be used on babies over 6 mos of age.
- Two home remedies were brought to my attention which can be used either alone or in-between medication treatments, should you think your kid’s lice have not been extinguished. 1) Lice “killer”: Go and buy the cheapest hair gel you can find. Apply a thick layer of gel on the scalp, tie in a towel or scarf, put a shower cap and go to sleep, this will suffocate the lice overnight. Pretty cool huh? 2) Lice “preventer”: dissolve 15 drops of Tea tree essential oil into 50 ml of some kind of oil carrier (preferably not olive oil, it is too thick) and every time your kid is supposed to meet other kids (e.g. every morning before school, every afternoon before a playdate) rub the mixture around the ears and all around close to the hairline which are the lice “entrances”.
- For more information on lice please refer here