No More Nits

As an ex hairdresser I have seen my fare share of the rodeo in town, not only on my clients but my kids as well! Last year my 16 year old daughter came home with them – I’m like what the!! thought only primary school kids got them. Over the years I have tried many different head lice solutions some nastier than others and so expensive.  I remember using one which literally starting burning my daughters scalp as soon as I applied it – to say I was horrified was an understatement as this product is sold in thousands of chemists throughout Australia!!

For as long as mankind has been in existence, lice have been present to come along for the ride. Scientists often refer to lice as the “heirloom parasite” because not only have lice, and more specifically head lice, been with us for many millennia, but they are distinctly and characteristically ours, meaning the specific type of lice that affects humans, only affects humans – Head Lice being one of them

While each form of lice, or louse (singular), has its own unique characteristics, I am only going to focus on head lice. It is important to know that lice have three stages of life, the egg (or nit), the nymph and the adult:

  1. Nits are typically whitish-grey, beige or yellow ovals that are approximately the size of a grain of sand. These are often confused with dandruff and usually hatch within 9-10 days
  2. Nymphs, or baby lice, look exactly like an adult louse, except smaller
  3. Adult size balloon to roughly the size of a sesame seed and can be difficult to see. They have a lifespan of roughly 30 days

While head lice usually is found in children, it can easily be spread through hair-to-hair contact or the sharing of hats, combs, hairbrushes and headphones. Head lice don’t fly or jump, but it is worth noting that they can crawl very quickly.

Research suggests that bed linen, hats, clothing and furniture do not harbour or transmit lice or nits and that there is no benefit in washing them as a treatment option. Nits and lice only live on the human head. They quickly dehydrate and die if removed from the head.

7 Signs to look out for that your child may have Head Lice

  1. They are constantly scratching their head
  2. Have trouble sleeping
  3. They’ve got dandruff that just won’t let up
  4. You see small red bumps on their neckline
  5. They’ve got swollen lymph nodes
  6. You see physical evidence
  7. You get a note from school

Lice are wily creatures, and they’re becoming resistant to conventional insecticides. Resistance can vary region by region. It’s an expensive and time-consuming exercise, but the bottom line is all head lice treatments purchased for the chemist are full of nasty chemicals even though they have FDA approval.

Reasons a treatment might fail:

  • You’re not using enough of it to cover the scalp and hair.
  • You’re not repeating the treatment after 7 to 10 days (to kill nits, which often survive the first application). THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO DO!!
  • You’re getting re-infested due to head-to-head contact with another person.

 

Lice Prevention Spray

A light spray on the roots and tips before brushing their hair each morning or spray on the inside of their school hat.

Because prevention is better than cure!

Half fill a 30ml glass spray bottle with water (filtered, distilled or cooled down boiled water) add:

5 drops Tea Tree (Melaleuca) oil

3 drops Lavender oil

2 drops Rosemary oil

2 drops Eucalyptus oil

Give it a good shake before each use.

Note: if you are using this recipe on children under 5 leave out the Eucalyptus

Head lice Treatment

I can’t stress highly enough, no matter what treatment you use – buy a metal head lice comb (the plastic ones just don’t cut it) and go through the hair thoroughly; using fine 1cm sections:

Recipe:

1 Cup of Coconut oil

2 drops Tea Tree

2 drops of Eucalyptus

2 drops of Clove

2 drops Lavender

2 drops of Rosemary

 

Directions:

  1. Coat the hair thoroughly, add more coconut oil if you are dealing with long or thick hair.
  2. Use your nit comb to go through the hair, 1cm sections at a time, put on a shower cap and leave for a couple of hours before shampooing the hair.
  3. Repeat next day just using the treatment
  4. Repeat 7 to 10 days later going through with the treatment and nit comb.

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