Today, we’re sharing a post from Anna Marie about their experience dealing with lice. Yes, you read that right. Y’all, this is a very practical post, and watch out, you’ll probably find your head itching a bit.
I was brushing the girls’ hair after bathing them one evening and saw a little bug near Lydia’s bangs. I picked it out and showed Christopher, who was right there brushing the children’s teeth, and commented that it was funny. I had picked one out of one of the girls’ bangs earlier. I thought it was a little fruit fly. As I began to brush Lydia’s hair again, I found another, and two more … then set the brush down and started carefully looking through both her and Ruthanne’s hair, picking out bug after bug and dropping them into a cup of soapy water. I also saw lots of little dark specks, which I later learned were the eggs (nits).
I have no previous experience with head lice, having never had them, but some Google searches turned up lots of information. I wanted to briefly share with you what I wish I would have known that first moment I found them—before we did homeopathic lice spray treatments, washed countless loads of laundry, did a major house cleaning, worried about whether long hair would need to be cut (it doesn’t), etc.
I eventually came across a web site that has been tremendously helpful in this process. It is written by “The Nice Lice Lady,” who was a professional in-home lice consultant for fourteen years. Because her site is set up as a blog, the various tips are somewhat spread throughout the site. While there are some helpful quick links on the right sidebar my first recommendation, if you discover lice in your home, is to read this post.
Here are a few of my key takeaways from her site:
- Head lice are a nuisance, not a health issue. It also doesn’t mean you’re dirty—some research indicates that lice may even prefer clean scalps.
- Think of treatment in terms of a marathon, not a sprint. You’re going to be combing heads for a few weeks; pace yourself so you don’t burn out. Which relates to the next point…
- Focus 99% of your efforts on the scalp and combing. Don’t waste your time on house cleaning and laundry. She hasn’t found that to make much if any, difference; but she’s “relentless” on combing. She also has not found treatments (whether chemical or homeopathic) to be necessary or change the outcome much at all. The treatment that is effective: combing.
- According to studies: blow drying, on high speed but low temperature can kill up to 98% of nits and 50% of lice. She doesn’t feel it’s necessary if you’re carefully combing as she recommends, but I did it anyway.
- Do simple routine checks. She does it weekly by combing the children’s hair with a regular fine-tooth comb after they shower and detangle their hair. She checks the comb for any lice after each stroke through the hair. If she finds something, she grabs her lice comb and gets to work. By doing these routine checks, she feels like she is able to beat lice before they really get started.
All that said, here is our plan of action regarding lice. Divided up into two sections: “prior to” lice, and “once discovered.”
Prior to Getting Lice:
- Optional: I found it helpful to use an essential oil blend called “Get ‘Em Gone,” from Plant Therapy. The oil is designed to soothe itchy scalps and help repel lice. I liked having something that could be (diluted and) applied to all heads of hair once lice was discovered. It gave me peace of mind knowing I was helping protect other heads and also helping soothe the scalp of the ones who had lice. I know many people have different views about essential oils, and it’s true that the essential oil isn’t something “required” for treating lice, but it’s something I liked having on hand. I have been happy with any essential oils I have ordered from Plant Therapy over the years (two of our favorites are Defender and Germ Destroyer), and reviews on “Get ‘Em Gone” are very positive. So, if you’re an essential-oil-kind of gal, you might check it out from Plant Therapy. Sarah dropping in here on this part: If you decide to order the essential oil directly from Plant Therapy, y’all can get $10 off a $25 order and Anna Marie will also get $10 in her account. Her referral link is: http://rwrd.io/jowmdjb/
Once You Discover Lice, Here are Some Steps You Could Take
- Stop and take a breath. Spend some time in prayer, giving thanks to God in and for all things and asking for His grace in the days to come (or, should I say, “comb”). Look forward to the special time you’ll have with your children.
- Re-read this Titus2 blog post and also read through the Nice Lice Lady’s blog post.
- Get started treating head(s)!
- Wet the hair by spraying with Get ‘Em Gone essential oil combined with water in a spray bottle (shake bottle frequently while spraying to keep the oil mixed in if not using an emulsifier).
- Comb: I’ll include a summary of the combing process I used, but see Nice Lady’s post for her step-by-step guide on this.
- Start combing with a good lice comb, either sectioned off or just making sure you cover each section well multiple times. Comb all the way from scalp to end of hair, checking the comb each stroke and wiping any findings on toilet paper or paper towel.
- Note: I was frustrated with how long it took to get the tiny nits out of the comb, but found the Nice Lice Lady addresses this in the comments section on a blog post saying not to worry too much about the nits if they’re not just wiping out of the comb. Even if they do come out of the comb into the hair, they won’t reattach and cannot live away from the scalp. However, be sure to wipe all the lice/nymphs off the comb with each stroke.
- Continue to comb until you can do 100 strokes with no findings. This is great counting practice for little ones, by the way! 😉 Do this every couple of days until you have no findings for about two weeks. Since this can take a while the first couple of times, it’s a great time for read-aloud or audio books. Joshua read to us for part of the time we combed.
- Thoroughly blow-dry sections with cool air.
- Keep combing every day or two until the comb has been clear for two weeks. The Nice Lice Lady said she rarely finds anything after the first two combings, and that was our experience as well.
- Regularly spray everyone’s hair (even those who haven’t had lice or nit sightings) with Get ‘Em Gone essential oil water for a few weeks.
I hope this helps,
“Giving thanks always for all things unto God
and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”