Our twelve hear old daughter came home with headlice. It was the first time she’d had it in over a year.
These days it’s not such a drama, because I know how to kill those nasty beasties real quick. Here’s how.
You’ll need: A blow dryer and a set of straighteners (flat irons) that are water-resistant.
These items don’t have to be expensive. The flat irons I have cost me $20 from the local discount store, and are “home brand”. They work a treat.
You’ll also need a regular plastic comb for combing hair during this process, and you may choose to use a nit comb (fine toothed) for removing dead lice and eggs from the hair after blow drying and straightening the hair.
Before you start…
Remember that your child’s pillows, towel, sheets, hair ties and hair brushes will all need to be decontaminated with a hot wash before being used again.
Any clothes the child has worn since the infestation will also need washing.
Vacuum any areas the child has been lying, including sofas etc., and remove soft toys that may harbour headlice for two weeks. Placing them in a freezer bag in the freezer has been shown to kill any adults plus their eggs.
After the treatment, any combs, clips, ties etc. you have used during the treatment will also need thorough washing or disposal.
Step 1: Wash and blow dry
Get your child to wash their hair. Ask them to leave it wet without overly towel-drying it.
Blow dry their hair, as hot as possible, as close as possible to the scalp. It should be as hot as they can bear.
If necessary, section the hair, and dry it through a chunk at a time.
The key here is to heat all the hair as hot as possible until it is all completely, thoroughly dry and the hair has all been heated as much as possible.
Step 2: Flat iron
Flat iron hair, in sections, starting at the nape of the neck and working up.
Use the hottest setting, but test the irons first if you’ve never used them on your child’s hair before.
Once again, ensure you complete cover all strands, so that all hair has been treated.
You may hear small “popping sounds”. That’s the sound of the eggs being fried (yes really!). I find this very satisfying!
Step 4: Repeat every 3 days
Headlice have a 7-10 day life cycle, so repeating the process above four to five times should break the cycle for good.
Remember to check your child regularly regardless, and try to track down where the nits came from in your child’s community, to avoid future infestations.
It’s absolutely okay to tell your child to avoid any friend who has nits, and to inform a parent their child has headlice (if they do). This is a health issue, and your child does not need nits again!
Also, remember to inform your child’s school, playgroups or other carers about the infestation.
Preventing further infestations
Keep long hair tied up. All people with long hair should keep their hair tied up, in buns or plaits, when lice are going around.
Short hair makes lice less likely, and easier to treat. My partner shaves his head. He’s never had lice. My son keeps his hair very short, and
Why most chemicals / lotions don’t work
Lice, like all insect populations, adapt to chemicals.
Just like other bugs have grown resistant to the chemicals we humans use, so too have headlice.
I spent literally hundreds of dollars on chemicals and hours and hours on the “conditioner and combing” method before I learned that the most effective treatment for headlice was simple heat.
Our family is now lice-free, and we never spend money on lotions and chemicals that don’t work and cost a lot! 🙂