Our Experience with Head Lice And How to Get Rid of Them

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:

  • Have on hand a quality lice comb. The one we bought from Walmart wasn’t any good. Here’s the one we eventually found that is extremely good: the Nit Terminator lice comb (Titus2’s Amazon’s Affiliate link, see the Privacy Policy). It costs about $11. I wish I’d had it on hand the first night. It has sturdy, rigid teeth that are micro-grooved so it really does grab those tiny nits in fine little girl hair. While you wouldn’t have to buy this ahead of time, once you discover lice it’s going to be hard to wait a day or even several days for it to arrive. At the same time, it’s hard to know the quality of the combs that are readily available in local stores.
  • 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.
    • Wet hair and apply a little bit of conditioner—but not too much, I found, or you spend a lot of time first removing excess conditioner so you can see what you’re getting in the comb! I had this kind (Titus2’s Amazon’s Affiliate link, see the Privacy Policy), and it worked great.
    • 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,
Anna Marie

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God
and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ephesians 5:20

A First For These Two Girls

Abby and Bethany have helped me since they were small girls making tortillas before our family Sunday lunch. It’s not every week, of course, but pretty often.

Yesterday, was a big day. They took on most of the responsibility and rolled and cooked the tortillas by themselves because I needed to take Christopher’s family photos.

Congratulations, girls! To be able to hand off that big job (do you know how many tortillas it takes to feed this growing crew?!) to young ladies at 11 and 9 is really awesome. Great work, Abby and Betsy. I love you.

Love,
Sarah

“And above all these things put on charity,
which is the bond of perfectness.”
Colossians 3:14

Happy Birthday, Anna!

Happy Birthday, Anna! We’re so grateful for this amazing young woman. She packs her days with work and ministry. Her passion is serving the Lord. I think Anna’s smile has an extra sparkle when she’s with kids. She ministers with Mary twice weekly at an apartment complex, and she intentionally manages time with nieces and nephews too. She is proficient at IT help-desk support for one of her brothers’ companies.

Anna has spearheaded the Saturday project “declutter and clean out our stuff” day, and she loves to figure out what the day might hold.

Anna often blesses us with tasty meals, and her soups are really incredible.

We love you, Anna. Happy Birthday!

Shopping for Operation Christmas Child items
We three sisters love doing things together.
Anna Maxwell

“Blessed is every one that feareth the
LORD; that walketh in his ways” (Psalm 128:1).

Random Life From Summer Heat to Cozy Autumn

It’s a gorgeous, autumn Sunday afternoon as I prep this Random Life post. We went from temperatures in the 90s the end of September, to temperatures in the lower 30s at night, cool days, and snow predicted for this coming week. Hello, autumn! Hues of orange, brown, and the occasional vibrant red fill the neighborhood and surrounding countryside.

September and October have been full with work, ministry, and traveling for some. We’re grateful to the Lord for His enabling grace.

What is something you enjoy about autumn? I’d love to hear it!

Taking apart GiGi’s fence for a tree project
That slide needed some serious cleaning.
Bethany teaching Grandpa and Grandma a new game on her birthday night at our house last month
Axton with Grandma. That’s the blessing of being near relatives: spur of the moment the parents can go out for dinner, and we’re happy to watch the little one(s).
These two. I guess it’s like monkey see, monkey do?
Girls prepping fruit (using butter knives :))
We girls did a church event: Mary face painted, Anna twisted balloons, and I took photos for the event.
Christopher and Anna Marie went to St. Louis for the Scriptorium and also enjoyed the zoo.
Reciting at the Scriptorium
Deborah is so adorable!
Calia and Mom have time together each week, and here they’re all suited up for the rain (thanks to borrowing one of the aunt’s raincoats).
I wonder if this is similar to waiting for water to boil?
This is quite a bike line up!
A random Sunday capture
When so many are over, the hall can be a quieter place to gather. Here Anna is with a child from each family!
For one of the days at Bible Club, Anna applied for and was granted the firemen to bring in their truck and talk about it with the kids. The kids were so thrilled!
Mary sharing a Bible story
Garage sale-ing one morning
The cousins love spending time together.
I’m tellin’ you!
Enjoying some time with friends
Reading with Grandma
Time with friends
Some of the families had a picnic at the Riverfront Park, and here Christopher is witnessing to a man.
Deborah’s first time accompanying Nathan on a run
Anna Marie and Gigi
Autumn beauty

“The eyes of all wait upon thee;
and thou givest them their meat in due season.”
Psalm 146:15

Young Presenters Still Going Strong

Remember the Young Presenters (see these posts: Introduction, Part 1 and Part 2)? They’re still going strong.

As part of homeschool, often Nathan and Melanie’s kids give a short presentation on Friday evenings, sharing about one thing they learned. During their school meeting with Melanie the day of, they pick out what they want to share, practice it, and then present it.

It’s a great learning opportunity for the child to articulate to their listeners clearly, and it helps cement it in their minds.

Nathan had to work late last Friday, so Melanie and kids joined us for the evening. We all loved listening to the presentations. I haven’t heard one for a long time, and wow, they are in-depth and technical.

Abby first began by reciting the entire chapter of James 1. It was beautiful.

Here Abby showed us some math functions, including how to reduce fractions.

Betsy explained to us Elapsed Time and then calculated it, all the while telling us how she did it.

Tina demonstrated her spelling abilities, having Mom read off a list of words.

Drew showed us how he programmed this little mouse to do what he wanted it to.

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath
begun a good work in you will perform
it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
Philippians 1:6

Happy 9th Anniversary, Christopher and Anna Marie!

Happy 9th Anniversary to my brother, Christopher, and his wife, Anna Marie. Amazing to think it has been 9 years since that beautiful, autumn day in Washington where you united in the covenant of marriage.

It’s such a joy to see your dedication to the Lord Jesus as you raise your family in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Christopher, you include your children in projects, and you’re quick to lend a hand to someone in need. Anna Marie, you are a sweet helpmeet who is industrious and loves her family.

Happy Anniversary!

Love,
Sarah for the rest

“As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;
so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:
they shall not be ashamed,
but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”
Psalm 127:4-5

The Maxwell family and ministry blog of Titus2.com.