What do you do when your child gets nits or lice? Run to the hills screaming? Set the sheets on fire? Shave your child’s head? Well unfortunately the answer is no, no and maybe.
One of the many things no-one tells you when you are on the baby train is, “one day my friend you will experience the world of nits and lice.”
What To Look For
Head lice are tiny wingless insects that unfortunately live on the scalp. They are usually light brown in color and look slightly like sesame seeds (I am sorry as now it will be difficult to ever eat sesame seeds again). Lice reproduce by laying eggs in the hair which are called nits. Nits (or eggs) can be yellow, brown, or tan and look like tiny seeds which are attached to the hair shaft. Using a two sided comb and gloves, look closely at the scalp. Start from the base of the neck and work in sections looking for lice and/or nits, clipping the hair you have searched through. If you do see lice and/or nits it is now time to step up:
So You Have Lice: Next Steps
If You Want to Throw Money at This Problem…
You have several options when it comes to lice treatment. Here are a few local skilled and trained lice removal technicians, many using natural tools and techniques:
Napa Lice Patrol (In Napa)
Petaluma Nit Fix (In Petaluma)
Lice Clinics of America (in Petaluma)
Hair Bears Salon (In Santa Rosa)
If You’d Rather DIY this Nit-Lice Debacle:
Grab a complete kit at the grocery or pharmaceutical store. (They are not on the shampoo aisle, that would be too obvious. Not near the children’s aisle either. I found the nits and lice treatment in an obscure aisle near the jock itch cream! To make life easier, (do what I did not do) just ask someone as soon as you enter the store as you do not want to be running around like a crazy lady while you drag your infested child behind you.
Treat Lice and Nits
- Lice/Nit Elimination Kit (most pharmacies will have a selection, I recommend one that also includes a gel (which detangles hair making it easier to comb through your child’s hair as well as a comb).
- A towel.
- Hair clips which you do not mind throwing away.
- A timer (use your smartphone).
- Ziplocks or sealable bag.
- Disposable gloves.
- Cartoons to distract your child (this can take a while).
- Break out the elimination kit.
- Follow the instructions in the kit TO THE LETTER
- Check For Lice
- CHECK AGAIN!
- Do a final shampoo wash and let your child relax.
Your job is not done… control the spread… wash any item that may have come into contact with hair in hot water. Bed sheets, pillows, soft toys, towels, clothes worn that week, and if you have it use the treatment control spray on the mattress, couch, and surface areas where your child may have laid their head.
Prevent Nits and Lice
After that headache, I’m sure you want to prevent those nasty buggers from coming back in-right? Here are some preventative tips (helpful hints to reduce your risk of exposure!)
- All School items remain in the garage: Prevent accidental transportation by leaving all school supplies (think backpacks and lunch bags-even shoes) in the garage (lice die after 48 hours without a host).
- Keep that hair locked and loaded: For kids with long hair during an outbreak at school, buns and braids with hair spray create a protective barrier making your child a less ideal host. For short hair, also use hair spray.
- Use the Dryer: Put any clothes that might have ended up in a space with shared hooks (like hoodies and jackets) in a hot dryer after school, then leave them in the garage!
- Employ Prevention Products: A great kid-friendly hair spray and spray conditioner that deters unwanted guests is the way to go. We personally like:You can find Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel line at Ulta and Amazon.
Oh and be secure in the knowledge that one day this will happen to all parents or guardians of adorable small people and it is no-ones fault. It certainly does not mean the child does not bathe enough or you live in filth (in fact-lice prefer clean heads! Go you!). Head lice can be caught any number of ways; trying on hats, sharing combs, or using someone’s pillow.
And remember if all else fails and you cannot handle another minute of combing through a toddlers hair while continuing to find nits just shave their head… hair grows back and you might be one of the lucky ones whose child thinks he now looks very cool and can run faster with less hair!