This isn’t really related to issues I normally address here, but I’m sharing my experience because if you have kids, especially ones with long hair, it’s likely going to happen to you and I don’t want you to go through the stress that I went through. Trust me, read this and it will save you a ton of stress, time and money!
Let me give you some advice right now… If I were you, I’d just go ahead and buy a lice comb like this one TODAY, because the ones they sell at most drug stores don’t work, those lice shampoos don’t work, and when you find out your kids may have lice, you’ll want to deal with it quickly – like within an hour. You won’t have time for Amazon Prime. There are a few other supplies you’ll need that I will discuss later in the post, but trust me, the lice comb is KEY and if you want to get rid of them fast, you must have this kind. Have I stressed that enough? Good.
I really thought I’d be lucky enough to escape a case of head lice BUT, no. My kids are now 11 and 13. It happened for the first time to us recently and I completely freaked out. I had no idea what to look for, and no idea what to do. My entire day went south fast. I immediately started washing everything I could find, put pillows in plastic bags, and just running around the house completely shaking, worrying how I was going to deal with this. Can you tell I’m a little bit “Type A?”
I have to admit that I nearly fainted when I the school nurse showed me a live louse on my kid’s head. I let out a scream (super embarrassed about that, I couldn’t help it) and had to sit down because I felt all my blood sink to my feet. I admit that I can sometimes have dramatic reactions. Right after I brought my kid home, I texted a bunch of other moms, frantically asking for advice. I heard many different answers, from electric zappers to magic (toxic) shampoos. I honestly couldn’t see the little buggers in my kids hair, but I honestly didn’t even really know what I was looking for. Just brushing my kids hair is a struggle, so these little lice combs from CVS were a total nightmare. There was a little arguing about having to sit still, and tons of tangles. I thought I found a few eggs, but I really wasn’t so sure. Then I got nervous that maybe I had them too, and I didn’t want to take any chances… So I called some professionals.
I quickly self-diagnosed myself as having a case of “Mom Lice Stress.” This is a very common and treatable condition and I’m going to help you take steps to avoid. Take a deep breath. You got this!
I had no idea that there’s an entire industry of professional lice combers. A quick google search uncovered a bunch of creatively named companies. I was able to make a same day appointment with NitWits. They charge a lot, but it was totally worth it to me for the peace of mind. (PS they did not sponsor this post in anyway) I needed someone who knew what to look for and how to get rid of them. They covered my kids hair in a thick, all natural conditioner like this one, then carefully combed through in sections. My daughter has very fine hair, so they mixed the conditioner with a bit of baking soda just to thicken it up a bit more. I asked a lot of questions and feel like I’m a total expert now. Here’s what I learned…
There’s just tons of misinformation out there!
Here are a few lice facts:
- Head lice only spread through head to head contact, they can’t fly.
- You DON’T need to wash everything in your house, lice can only survive on a human head.
- Don’t worry about washing pillows, blankets, etc. Body lice are a totally different story (and animal), as they can live in clothes, blankets, etc. Head lice don’t leave a head for an inanimate object like a stuffed animal.
- Your pets can’t carry head lice.
- Most lice are resistant to chemical treatments that you buy at drug stores.
- Many people are not itchy when they have lice and have no idea.
- The only way to get rid of lice is to comb them and their eggs (nits) completely out of the hair.
- With the increase of “group selfies” on social media, head lice are thriving more than ever!
Check out this video to demystify some of the most common misperceptions about lice:
Because they can scoot so fast, it’s incredibly difficult to check for lice in dry hair. You must have wet hair in order to check for lice. What you need to do is brush it to get any tangles out, then use a thick conditioner and smother the whole head with it. Here is a full list of what you’ll need:
- A wide comb to detangle and section hair
- Hair clips like these
- A good lice comb like this one
- Some thick conditioner like this kind
- A white towel or paper towels to wipe the conditioner
- A bowl of water to rinse the comb
This took 1.5 hours on my daughter but only 30 min on my son because he has short hair, so set them up in front of a movie and take a few deep breaths. You may want to have a strong cocktail tonight, it’s OK.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Detangle the hair if needed with the wide comb.
- Smother the hair in the conditioner and comb out with the wide comb.
- Separate the hair into about 2 inch square sections using the clips.
- Comb each hair section with the lice comb. You’ll need to stay close to the scalp, combing all the way through to the end of the hair.
- Wipe the conditioner on the towel and look for live bugs or nits.
- Continue combing the same square section of hair from all four directions (side, top, side, bottom) until you no longer see any bugs or nits.
- Move onto the next section and repeat.
- When done with all the sections, comb through the entire head of hair one more time until you no longer see ANYTHING.
- Rinse the conditioner out of the hair.
- Repeat this every other day for three days. If you see anything on a subsequent comb out, you’ll need to continue combing every other day until you have three comb outs that are completely free of bugs or nits.
- Comb through again in 2-3 weeks to ensure you’re lice free.
Confused? It’s really helpful to see it in action. Here’s a great video of someone using the comb properly:
So if you’re super nervous like I was, I do recommend going to a professional. There are even folks in some areas who travel to your house. Do a google search for “lice removal” and there will likely be a bunch of companies that come up. I personally felt that the money I spent for the service was completely worth it, but if someone had come over and just showed me how to deal with it, I feel like I could have managed to tackle it on my own. If you have kids and haven’t dealt with lice yet, just remember that there’s no need to have a full blown attack of “Mom Lice Stress.” Just prepare now (get that comb) and bookmark this page. You’ll be glad you did!
Do you have any more tips? Please share!