One day in the car:
“Mummy, what’s the Meaning of Lice?”
“The meaning of li…? UGH!” *shivers, car swerves violently*
“Yes, why did God make them?”
“That’s another one you’ll have to ask Him yourself, hopefully later rather than sooner at this rate.”
Actually I think lice do share somethings in common with the meaning of life. It’s a topic I talk about with those who I know are struggling with in respectful and muted tones, and both have reduced me to tears in the past.
We don’t like to talk about all the nasty little things we have to deal with sometimes as parents. It took me ages to whisper ‘I’m treating my kids for lice – beware (sorry)!’ Until I realised that having lice is’t exactly my fault, but rather it’s just a normal part of parenting life so just deal with it, thoroughly!
I can safely say we have worked our way through all the products on the shelf in the pharmacy as well as the tried and trusted home remedies. I have washed and combed and laundered and combed and shampooed and combed until I was a blubbering pile of fury on the kitchen floor.
The nasty critters suck not only the blood from your kids but the hours from your week, and also the joy from your heart. After combing the long-haired heads of my three girls and then myself and then laundering all the pillow cases and towels, I almost feel sympathy for the dead creatures I just killed.
It’s no joke though, head lice has reached epidemic proportions in Ireland, and yet I still have no idea why God made them.
Here’s how we beat them:
My 10 TOP TIPS for dealing with lice and nits:
- Check your kids’ heads at least once a week. Lice are tiny, light brown and crawl. They cannot jump or fly but are passed on by contact. Look along the hairline around the ears and at the base of the neck as well as on the crown of the head for lice. The eggs (nits) are tiny white blobs that stick to individual strands of hair. they are usually found anywhere down the length of the hair.
- Keep long hair tied up for school.
- Spray heads with a solution of tea tree oil in the mornings as a preventative measure.
- Comb – using a specialised very fine toothed lice comb – once a week on a Friday after school to check for any unwanted passengers. Don’t forget to check yourself too as they tend to flick off when you comb and can land on your clothes only to crawl up on to your head, (I know!!) I do this in the bathroom with my child seated next to the basin so that I can rinse the comb after each stroke.
- If you find lice you can treat heads with an off the shelf lice treatment product but I have found that coating their heads in any cheap conditioner or olive oil home remedy (see below) and leave covered in a tight fitting shower cap or cling film overnight just as effective. Lice can survive without breathing for several hours so swimming or bathing down not drown them.
- Wear an apron when you comb your child and remove it straight afterwards to be washed.
- Nits (lice eggs) hate heat so use hair straighteners to fry those eggs! Using a hair dryer also helps but be careful of not scorching your child too (obvs).
- After three days check and comb again.
- Lice can live off the head for 24 hours so you need to thoroughly soak any hairbrushes or combs in boiling water and change bedding and towels (I iron pillowcases).
- Avoid using regular shampoo one to two days after.
Home Remedy for lice removal:
Mix 2 tablespoons olive oil with 10-15 drops of tea tree oil. Coat head and hair with oil solution, cotton wool balls are handy for this.
Wrap head in plastic wrap (just the hair and not the face mind you) or wear a shower cap, and leave for 12 hours or over night. Lice can survive several hours without breathing so swimming will not drown them.
Comb out smothered lice in the morning and shampoo hair.
Repeat combing after three days for up to three weeks to catch any hatched eggs.
Don’t give up!
On other topics:
I found this to be the best way to teach my kids how to shop for and cook their own meals. You can read about it here.
And afterwards treat yourself with this BEST EVER 15 minute chocolate biscuit cake. YUM!!
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