I’m not going to lie, very recently my girls and I all had a case of Head Lice. In this post, I’m going to share with you 10 steps to get rid of head lice, all of which are equally as important as the other! It’s a process! I have no idea where we got it from but we got it! I suspect my youngest, the brunette, got it first because, by the time I realised it wasn’t just dry skin that was making all of us have itchy heads, she seemed to have significantly more than her sister, and I. I would say I was probably the last to get it of the three of us, but yes, we all got a good dose!
Dramatic Mom Moment!
It was fairly traumatic for me, I have never had nits in my life, but it’s just another one of those gifts from your children you never really need. Like the time I got chickenpox at the age of 26 from my future step-daughter and got it 10 times as bad as she did, and still have the scars as a reminder! #GoodTimes Anyway getting head lice in a family of mainly girls, all with either super long hair, or super thick hair, or both (yes, I was crying into my wine that fateful night) it can take hours to sort out, but it’s best tackled immediately!
The Unspoken Effect of Head Lice
One of the things they don’t tell you about getting nits is the effect it can have on you mentally. You read all these posts, and get all these helpful words of advice, saying, “it’s not your fault, it’s common, everyone get it”. And they are true!
However, it doesn’t mean that even if your partner doesn’t have it, he won’t be scratching his (bald head) just thinking about it. It doesn’t mean that you will be paranoid about every time you might have an itchy head for weeks after! It doesn’t mean that you won’t be stripping beds at 09.00pm on a Friday night and attempting to almost boil all the linen and towels in your house; then make your family sleep without linen on their beds for the whole weekend because it’s the middle of winter and you only have 1 tumble dryer! It also doesn’t mean that you won’t call your mom, even though you’re nearly 40, crying to her and asking her how to get rid of them when the super expensive over-the-counter oil doesn’t work! It absolutely doesn’t mean any of those things!
Anywho … I could have done with getting this post a few weeks prior to the incident, but I felt it was a good time to share the lessons I learnt. So here are 10 steps to get rid of nits!
What do Lice Look Like?
One of the things I unashamedly googled, was ‘What do lice look like?’ so here it is, a picture of what the actual lice look like, and a picture of a child’s head with the lice eggs stuck to the strands of hair. It can be hard not to try convince yourself that they just have dry scalp and it’s just tiny flakes of dry skin in their hair, but when the eggs are stuck to the hair about a centimeter from the head, and it’s all over, then it’s more than likely that there is a lice infestation.
Disclaimer: Below is a guest post, but all the comments in yellow on the 10 steps below are my personal words based on my recent experience of attempting to get rid of head lice in our family!
How to Get Rid of Head Lice!
Head Lice are the bane of a school child’s – and parent’s – life. If you have a young child who has recently joined school for the first time or is still in school, there is always the risk of them bringing home a head full of lice from another child. And when they do, you will immediately start googling “how to get rid of head lice”! Unless of course, you’ve had it before.
Lice are pests that can target anyone of any age but are more common in children due to their close proximity in the classroom and the playground. Lice will bite and feed on blood, so if your child is infested, they could end up with lots of small red patches on their scalp that itch and irritate.
Lice are notoriously quick to procreate and can be difficult to get rid of, and this is why it is so important that when you notice a lice infestation in your home that you treat it quickly and effectively.
Today we want to show you how to get rid of head lice using some simple steps, to ensure that they do not take over the whole of your household and spread any further.
1. Identify the lice
The only way you can really be sure that your child has head lice is by finding live lice on their head. Often if your child comes home and complains of an itchy head this could simply be their head hair growing and causing a tingling sensation on their scalp. The best way to identify lice is to get yourself a thin lice detection comb and comb the hair. This will allow you to pull a louse out of the hair and at this point you can form your action plan and next steps.
Pic below is my basic, cheap, but very good lice detector comb – you need to keep one of these at home for the day when you think you might have head lice! It can definitely save you time and panic!
2. Check the whole family
It is now time to check every member of your household to see if they have lice too, because if anyone else in the house has lice and it isn’t spotted and treated immediately it can become an infestation very quickly. Check everyone in the home and if you want, treat everyone just to be safe.
3. Comb the hair thoroughly
The first step in lice treatment is to comb the hair thoroughly with a narrow tooth comb to get rid of the bulk of the lice living on their head. Make sure you have either a sink full of hot water nearby or plenty of tissue to wipe the lice on as you comb through their hair. This process will take a little time but if you are able to get most of the lice off in this step, it will make the rest of your journey much easier.
4. Wash the hair
Once you have combed the hair through it is time to use a lice shampoo and wash the hair thoroughly. This will get rid of a lot of the remaining lice on the head and will ensure that some of the ones you miss will be killed off. Once you have washed the hair, allow it to dry thoroughly and then move onto the next step.
5. Apply cream
Now is the time to apply Lyclear cream to the roots of your head and rub in thoroughly. This will not only target lice that are still on your head, but they will also kill any eggs that are attached to your hair follicles that may hatch later and cause a second wave of infestation. Leave this on for a little while to allow the medication to work and for the lice to die off.
6. Wash and Comb The Hair Again
Once the cream has done its job it is time once again to wash your hair and comb it through thoroughly. This process is important and it will ensure that any dead lice will be washed and combed out of the hair and you should only be left with the odd small egg that is already dead, that will naturally fall out of your hair in the next few days.
I would say this is the most important step. I actually combed through our hair after keeping the solution in for 15 minutes and then washed it and combed it again. By this stage I didn’t see any actual lice, but the comb was catching a lot of nits/eggs.
7. Treat everyone in one day!
When attempting to get rid of head lice we all know that time is of the essence and you must treat everyone on the same day at the same time. Consider if you were standing on a ship in the sea with a few other ships around you. If your ship started to sink what would you do? You’d swim as fast as you could to one of the other ships in the vicinity. This is exactly what lice will do if you start treating one member of the family. If you treat everyone at the same time the lice won’t have anywhere safe to go so they will be eradicated.
8. Kill the eggs
Eggs are the most difficult part of a head lice infestation to get rid of. The eggs of head lice are known and nits – and nits attach themselves to your hair follicles and this makes it very difficult to comb them out in the same way as adult lice (See picture above!). To remove nits after getting rid of lice you can backcomb your hair and this will dislodge the nits from your hair and make them fall off.
I actually did this two or three time again the following day on each of us just to be sure. My eldest daughter and I have really thick hair, but actually the youngest with the thinnest hair had the most to comb through. Again, use that little comb, it’s the only one that the bristles are thin enough to catch the eggs.
9. Check after 24 hours
It is imperative even after the day of your lice treatment to recheck the whole family and consider running a whole new round of treatment. Lice can still be alive after 24 hours of treatment, and if you give them more time than this, they will start to multiply once again. Tackle them head-on (excuse the pun) and don’t give them the chance to grow in number once more.
Use the comb!!! It can take hours to do this properly. Especially if you’re treating more than one person, which is likely! Separate the hair with a clip and start from the bottom and work upwards. You can put conditioner in to help the comb glide through easier on thick hair.
10. Wash your sheets
One of the most important steps in how to get rid of head lice is to wash your sheets, towels and any clothing that they wear often such as coats and dressing gowns, woolly hats etc. You need to wash their sheets immediately, and the other items at least before they need to wear them again. Wash them on the hottest wash you can in order to try to kill any lice that might be hiding between fibres.
Use these steps to tackle and eradicate your lice problem at home this year. It isn’t as scary as you may think and once you know the process you’ll be ready for future infestations.
As you can see from above, I’ve lived this, and these are the steps I personally recommend on how to get rid of head lice! There is no quick-fix solution, and it’s not a fun or enjoyable bonding experience for your family, but it must be done. But the good thing is that you can do it from home, it’s not an insurmountable problem. And remember, it’s no one’s fault that they got lice. Kids can quickly pick up on your reaction, so try to avoid saying words like, “gross”, or “disgusting”. Even if you think it, you don’t want them to think you’re blaming them for any of it.
I hope this post has been helpful. If you have any advice on how to get rid of nits from your personal experience, please do share in the comments below. And Pin This Post for next time!