Last week, I received a letter from Gabriella’s school stating that there have been reports of head lice at school.
My heart sank.
My stomach wrenched and as I read through the entire letter, bile erupted in my throat (okay, maybe not that last part but, the pics I researched after caused it)– it gave me a swift kick in the rear end.
It was an exact realization that head lice is a part of early school life and quite frankly, it scares the heck out of me.
I can say that I’ve been lucky enough to have never had lice in my life and have never actually seen a live one.
And I thank my lucky stars for that.
Well, I went through my entire school career without it and remember nervously sitting there while an attendant patiently prodded my hair with a gloved hand that brandied a wooden apparatus. Thankfully, always getting a clear.
Well, I’m a huge advocate for prevention and awareness. Yes, even when it comes to pests, if you missed my post on bedbugs, you can find it here. I believe prevention can aid in avoiding many a headache, especially when it comes to illnesses AND parasites. I’m going to share with you my tips on what I’ve been doing to so far, keep my home head lice free.
These are ways to prevent head lice.
- First and foremost, do your research. If you’ve been lucky enough to have never confronted this pest yet like me, Google pictures of head lice and nits (I sure as heck did, but brace yourself) and become familiar as to what you will be looking out for. Though, I’ve seen a few images of them pictured next to a match and they are smaller than the tip. Lice need warmth and heat to thrive and once they have a source they will begin to lay eggs or “nits” and once those hatch those buggers are even smaller. They get their nourishment off of human blood. *shudder*
- Once you know what you are looking for be meticulous and persistent on checking your child’s hair at least once a week. They may not like it but, I’m sure they would like those critters in their hair much less. I go as far as quickly checking her everyday quickly in the morning as I do her hair. Make sure to check the back of the head and behind the ears. It is said to be a favorite hiding spot for these buggers. I usually look out for anything out of the norm.
- Make sure you teach your children to avoid sharing hats or sweaters etc. Teach them that some things just aren’t meant to be shared. To store their coats in their own locker/cubby instead of piling it with other kids’ belongings. Lice can live on the belongings of a host for a couple days. Tell them that lice cannot jump on them but, transfer from direct head to head to contact with kids who have lice. Advise them to keep their heads away from other people, simply said. Kids will be kids and they shouldn’t live in fear but, if you know your child’s school has a lice outbreak, make sure to remind them to steer clear until the school gives a green light.
- Clean all objects that your child uses on a regular basis. This is usually normal protocol for us moms anyway. Including sheets, pillow cases, combs, hairbrushes, hats etc. If your child has sleepovers or attends one, make sure he/she has their own sleeping bag and pillow and when they come home, bag them and wash them at your earliest convenience. Like I said, this is what you’d most likely do anyways.
- Look for tell-tale signs of lice, which are an itchy scalp, red spots on scalp or any rash-like bumps on the back of the neck. Also, watch out for nits, they are the eggs that are laid on the hair shaft and are pictured above. If you do find these, it is a sign of infestation and you will have to treat your child’s hair. It is also advised that you quarantine everything your child has had contact with and disinfect it appropriately.
- If you want to really avoid and prevent lice naturally, try using shampoos that contain coconut oil and olive oil. They have fatty acids that break down the exoskeletons of the lice and kill them. You can also try shampoos and conditioners that contain tea tree oil, menthol or eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, and rosemary oil. They don’t like the smell and are less likely to stick around. There are many shampoos on the market for both children and adults and there are many to choose from. They also make conditioners, de-tangler sprays and styling gels.
Since I received the newsletter from the school about other kids having lice, I’m going to pick up a recommended shampoo called ZippityDoos that is an all-natural, mild shampoo safe to use everyday on children’s hair. It is made with natural ingredients, including Lemongrass, Rosemary, Geranium Extracts, Tea Tree Oil, Ginger and Lavender which helps keep those suckers away. It’s pediatrician approved and now available in Canada.
We’ve used the shampoo and it has helped in preventing lice but, I’ve also followed the 5 tips aforementioned as well. If all else fails, there’s many other options you can use to get rid of lice if you aren’t able to prevent them.
I’m doing everything in my power to prevent this because I am very well aware that this is a very common problem in school-aged kids and their families. But, if more people are aware and work towards prevention we can fight these buggers because they don’t discriminate. Though I’ve yet to experience this, I’ve heard the treatment is no walk in the park. Though none of these are fool proof, they do help.
But, I will continue to try to prevent from having to deal with it and you can too! Lets not even give them the chance.
How do you prevent lice?
Let me know, til then, cheers m’deres!