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Getting Ready for School: Head Lice

I have an irresistible urge to itch, just thinking about head lice! School is almost here and it’s a good idea to be ready for any head lice outbreaks.  Melinda Windly has researched the latest health guidelines from Queensland, South Australia and the USA and shares them with us.

Head lice: Simple Options For Management

Head lice have always caused parents of school age children frustration, but unfortunately they are here to stay.  It’s important to remember head lice a normal part of growing up, and has nothing to do with hygiene.  Regular inspection of your child’s hair, followed by immediate treatment (if present), is the easiest way to control head lice. Be sure to pay particular attention to the edge of your child’s hair line during inspections, as this is a common place to find eggs.

How To Treat Options

Wet Conditioner Combing

This method involves completely covering the hair with lots of (inexpensive) conditioner.  This immobilises the lice and allows combing out with a special lice comb.  It’s important to part the hair into a number of sections, using hair bands for long hair if necessary.  Comb each section gently from the scalp until all lice and eggs are removed, then move to the next section.  It helps to wipe the comb each time onto toilet paper, kitchen paper or something white. This must be completed 2 – 3 times per week until you have not detected lice or eggs at least 2 times.  Some eggs may need to be hand removed, especially with fine hair.

Pesticides + Combing

Various pesticide preparations are available at pharmacies.  Most involve leaving solution on the hair for a specified treatment time, then combing out as per the wet conditioner method.  It’s important to note, although these formulations claim to kill lice and eggs, eggs can survive the treatment, so further applications and combing the hair with a lice comb every 2 – 3 days is vital.  Be sure to follow all the safety guidelines and consider using a different pesticide if necessary.

There are also various prescription options available through your GP.  Most of these are most effective when used in combination with wet combing of the hair.

Other Methods

There are numerous other preparations based on natural oils etc that you may choose to try.

Electronic lice combs have now made it onto the market.  While some of these have not been proven to work, if you have found them effective for your child there is no need to change.  The natural based formulations should still be used with caution as they can be irritating to eyes.

Home Remedies

Below are home remedies you may wish to try:

* Apple cidar vinegar

* Mayonnaise

* Olive oil

* Conditioner

Prevention

Head lice travel via hair to hair contact.  Therefore, it’s worth having your child’s hair  neat and secure.  As lice generally live close to the scalp, encourage you child not to lean on their friends heads while talking.  Many parents have reported that using hair gel, hair spray and some of the commercially available natural oil based prevention sprays prevent or limit head lice.

Furthermore, it is highly recommended that you keep a lice comb in the shower and give your child a quick comb through with conditioner each time they have their hair washed.  Find the right comb for your child’s sort of hair and as they get older they can even do this step for themselves.

Tips

* Keep long hair tied up

* Avoid hat sharing

* Spray hair daily with a solution of water mixed with a few drops of lavender or tea tree oil

* Smooth hair with hair gel or spray

* Check hair regularly

The most important thing is to repeat treatment every 2-3 days until all lice are eradicated

Melinda is a stay at home Wife and Mum of three children (10,8,3), and an emergency/ICU nurse. She lives in the Gold Coast Hinterland with her family, 2 dogs, 2 chickens and the wild kangaroos. She enjoys reading, 4WD adventures, camping, entertaining, gardening, and other fun activities with family and friends.

Which Treatment Should I Use? by Kelly

I’ve road tested about every head lice treatment under the sun with my three daughters.  I tend to look at these four factors when I rate head lice treatments: odour, ease of application, applications per bottle and effectiveness. Below are common treatments options and how I rate them.

head lice treatment options

1. Lice Blaster Head Lice Lotion

head lice lice blaster lotionOdour: Low

Application: Easy

Applications per bottle: Excellent

Effectiveness: Very Good

2. Thursday Plantation Head Lice Gel

thursday island headlice gel

Odour: Medium to High

Application: Easy

Applications per bottle: Average

Effectiveness: Very Good

3. MOOV Head Lice Foaming Gel

moov head lice foaming gelOdour: High

Application: Moderate

Applications per bottle: Average

Effectiveness: Very Good

4. Banlice Mousse

head lice treatment banliceOdour: Low

Application: Easy

Applications per bottle: Fair

Effectiveness: Good

5. KP24 Natural Lotion

kp24 natural lotion head lice treatmentOdour: Medium

Application: Moderate

Applications per bottle: Average

Effectiveness: Very Good

6. Full Marks Solution

fullMarks_solution Headlice treatmentOdour: Low

Application: Moderate

Applications per bottle: Fair

Effectiveness: Good

7. Cheap conditioner

Use conditioner to get rid of head liceOdour: Low

Application: Easy

Applications per bottle: Excellent

Effectiveness: Good with frequent combing (poor as a once a week treatment on infested hair)

External Links

KleenexMums: Head Lice — The Facts and Fiction

Head Lice Research and Gallery

Other School Posts

Go Green: Environmentally Friendly School Products

How Can I Support My School Child

Covering School Books

Approaching a School Teacher With a Problem

Take Mum to School: Make a School First Aid Kit

Encouraging Strength of Character

I Have Three Crushes

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    Nicole
    January 18, 2011 at 6:33 am

    Now all we need is a national lice buster day. I always thought at easter would be good, sometime during the holidays the whole country can do an egg hunt. How nice would it be good if they were gone for good!

  • Reply
    Melinda Windly
    January 18, 2011 at 9:39 am

    I’m glad you’ve marked the odour on your ratings Kelly! Thanks. My favourite solution so far has been the banlice mousse as our smell sensitive daughter tolerates it well and it leaves her hair silky smooth. She could barely tolerate the Moov gel and it was all I could do to keep it on long enough (plus a ring of the solution ‘burnt’ a very obvious mark in our wooden dining room table that is still there years later lol 🙂 )
    I will try the Lice Blaster next time. Thanks.

    • Reply
      Kelly B
      January 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm

      @Melinda Windly, Yeah, I find Moov good, but very strong. I really like Banlice but it really does not go a long way in doing my three girls’ hair. That’s why I find lice buster good value. Thanks for your post Melinda. 😀

  • Reply
    Hear Mum Roar
    January 18, 2011 at 10:53 am

    I’ve only had to do this once, and I found cheap conditioner and a cheap lice comb worked best. I did it maybe 8 times in one day? (Because each time I’d thought I’d got them all, I was wrong!) Then, we became vigilant about conditioner sprays when styling her hair, then plastering her hair with gel, to keep the short bits at the front down (lice like to ‘tarzan’ from these hairs to others). Also, the gel is something lice hate.

    • Reply
      Kelly B
      January 22, 2011 at 6:27 pm

      @Hear Mum Roar, Yeah, I think the key to using conditioner is combing it LOTS and LOTS ay.

  • Reply
    Mon
    January 18, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I would love to set up some kind of Kid Dip (you know, like a Cattle Dip) outside each school that we can run kids through. We could call it something fun and make a game out of it.

    Do you think the Education Dept and parents will jump on board or is this just another one of my hair brained (get it?) schemes?

    🙂

  • Reply
    BookChook
    January 18, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Love Nicole’s idea of an egg hunt. Could we combine it with Mon’s idea of a Kid Dip?

    Maybe we could have a Pedicularium for each school? We could build it in the form of a giant louse on someone’s head. Kids slide down the hair to get to the louse, where they go through the dip and then get to swap their eggs for chocolate ones?

    Wait. Maybe then they would all want head lice?

  • Reply
    Lucy
    January 18, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Love this. I just wish EVERY SINGLE PARENT out there would read and observe. It ticks me off totally that I am vigilant about my kids, with prevention and cautionary treatment, but then the same old problem arises, as not all parents are as careful/diligent.

    (I know, I know,I am on a soapbox, sorry.)

    Touch wood, Olivia and Charlie and Lexie have remained unscathed, so far. 8 terms down, 56 terms to go.

    I have a big spray bottle that has a whole bottle of detangler, a whole bottle of spray on conditioner, and about 20 frops of tea tree oil (the water soluable version). Topped up with water. I use this on the girls hair each morning before I plait it, and on Charlie’s too. Initially they were a bit ick at the smell. But now they never mention it at all. And they don’t itch. And long may that continue!

    xx

    • Reply
      Kelly B
      January 22, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      @Lucy, YES! It’s important to keep checking isn’t it… If we all did, we might even almost eradicate it from schools!

  • Reply
    Michelle Dennis Evans
    January 19, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    I’m all for the chemical free treatments… condition with tea tree oil works… praying for a lice free year!
    The dip has me laughing!

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  • Reply
    suburp
    January 30, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    I had (ME!) for the first time headlice in my life – for christmas!! (I blogged about it here http://bit.ly/gNoUXB) I used Full Marks for me with 2 repeats (have short hair) and it was gone. my son (who hates even normal showers) opted for my husband’s clippers and a shaved head. I won’t hesitate to do that again, I really hate any insects that suck my (or my family’s) blood. 🙁

  • Reply
    Sara
    November 19, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Most parents don’t realize that OTC lice products/shampoos can harm their child, and nowadays, many strains of lice have become immune to them anyways!

    Pesticide based lice shampoos are full of chemicals that are known or suspected to cause cancer, negatively affect the nervous system, or have other harmful effects.  The scalp is one of the most absorbent parts of the body – especially in children, and products that are applied to the scalp get picked up directly by the bloodstream, without being filtered in any way.  That means that these harmful chemicals are being put directly into your child’s system.

    The safest, most effective way of eliminating lice in your child’s hair is manual lice removal.

    To find out more, check out our site:

    Natural Choice Lice Removal (www.NaturalChoiceLiceRemoval.com)

  • Reply
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