Lice Cleaning Tips and Tricks
Lice have become a very common problem in the last 30 years in the United States in schools and daycares and preschools. Many parents aren’t aware their child has lice until the lice have reached the 4th generation. Many years ago lice were thought of as something that only happened to people that lived in low socioeconomic environments but as the population has exploded, so has the lice problem. Lice shampoo and products can cost families hundreds of dollars because they don’t always work the first time. Parents are frustrated and children have to sit still while parents comb the nits which are the eggs out of the child’s hair. It’s harder on children with long hair because their hair is usually snarly and picking out knits requires a fine tooth comb that comes with the lice kits. If you miss some of the knits, the child is likely to have a reinfestation all over again. Lice also tend to love dark hair so children with dark hair are more prone to get lice.
Lice can jump from head to head and mainly can stay alive in warm places, so pillows and sheets still have live lice on them when your child returns to bed at night. Lice stay in their hats as well. In addition, if your child is going to a sleepover, make sure you send them their own pillow and blankets and make sure they never share hair brushes with their friends. Little boys can always have their head shaved so they don’t suffer as much unless they choose to have long hair. Then they have to go through the same procedures.
If your children have lice, you have to wash all the bedding in hot water to kill the lice, take all the stuffed animals out and if the weather temperature is below 32 degrees, you can bag the stuffed animals up and leave them outside for 24 hours and the lice will be dead. Mattresses have to be cleaned as well and mattress covers have to be washed in hot water too. Anything your child comes in contact with that is of fabric material has to be tossed out or washed in hot water. You can also leave all of these items in the cold if you are lucky enough to live in a cold climate to cut on some of the expenses. Blankets probably require a trip to the laundromat unless you live in a cold climate. Pillows have to be replaced or left out in below 32 degrees F temperature. This is a huge job and many parents are not very happy when their children have lice.
Parents can’t blame other children because this is now a common occurrence but there are some good remedies that don’t cost much that you can do at home and the lice will not come back. The best trick is olive oil to kill lice. The oil smothers the lice and the nits are very easy to remove with the knit comb. You can watch the nits slide onto the comb and see the lice disappear as you are using the oil. Put the oil on your child’s head for a good thirty minutes. Don’t be afraid to saturate your child’s hair. This is going to be very greasy and it might take a few days to get the olive oil out. After 30 minutes, start working on those nits with a comb and the lice will disappear as well. Sometimes you can see the lice if they are 4th generation or more. It feels very sad to see your child go through this. Make sure every nit is gone and all the lice and wash their hair two or three times with shampoo. After you have shampooed your child’s hair, make sure you condition it well. The child’s hair might still be oily but go through it again and make sure you can’t find a single nit or piece of lice. The second day, wash their hair again and it should be nice and fluffy and clean looking. If you feel your child’s hair looks too greasy, you can pin it up and no know will know the difference. Lice tend to stay away from parent’s hair, but they love kid’s hair especially if it’s dark. Lice also will jump into any color hair so make sure all the kids have been checked. Make sure you have cleaned your entire house and have vacuumed before you use the olive oil on your kid’s hair. This is a tried and true approach to getting rid of lice and olive oil is very inexpensive. Most people never have problems again with lice in their children’s hair once they have used the olive oil.
Schools will send home notes to alert parents that a child in the class with lice has been diagnosed. If your child has lice, don’t send them to school until you are sure the lice are gone. You wouldn’t want your child infecting the whole class and causing a huge epidemic that no one can cure. Parents have to stay on top of this type of problem or they won’t cure the lice of their children’s heads. This could go on for months and be frustrating when parents are constantly washing bedding, shampooing and vacuuming carpeting and all the rest of the work that goes into cleaning out lice. This can be extremely expensive.
Don’t become impatient with your children because they haven’t done anything wrong. Think about those sleepovers when kids are young though because you could be costing yourself a lot of time and money if one of your children catches lice and spreads it around the house. This isn’t an easy subject to talk to your child about when you say “no” to a sleepover, however; lice more prone to happen to smaller children in preschool and the earlier grades in school. Teenagers are not getting lice because they are older and almost adults. For some reason, those little monsters love younger children. If your child puts up a fuss about a sleepover after they have had lice, remind them about the misery they went through when you had to comb those nits out. In addition, make sure your child has their names on their hats and coats so they will be less likely to catch lice in school. Read more about these parasites in our other blog – do lice like clean hair.