19 responses

  1. Olivia
    February 8, 2012

    I so dread dealing with lice in the future. In fact, my daughter’s daycare posted that there was an incident at the facility, but not in her room. Then I walk in and see her wearing a costume hat. *sigh* And she has really curly, somewhat coarse hair that things like lint stick to really easily.

    I also find it really weird that it seems like there are so many cases of head lice now compared to when I was a kid. I only remember one incident of it and that wasn’t until I was in high school. Is it like the bed bug thing, just getting worse and worse until the whole country ends up infected?

  2. tracy
    February 8, 2012

    Amy’s advice is good, and I have one more suggestion. You want the other mom to know that you are getting rid of the lice, and are not spreading them back to her daughter, so she understands that she’s not totally eradicating them, right? So, the next time the girl is going to come over, tell her mom “I believe I have finally gotten rid of every single louse and nit. We haven’t seen one in weeks. When you bring your child over, would you mind checking my child’s hair, and I’ll check yours? Maybe you’ll see something I’m missing.” This will help you catch any lice that might be on her child’s head, and will also reinforce that yours is as lice-free as you think.
    Personally, we found that lice were harder to spread than you think. My daughter had them twice. The first time, right before we figured out what it was, she was sick and had slept in our bed while her father slept in her (surely lice-ridden) bed, but neither he nor I caught them. The second time, she’d spent the night with a friend and they slept in the same bed, but the friend didn’t get them.

  3. Tracy
    February 8, 2012

    Okay, mine was actually an adaptation of Amy’s, not an actual new suggestion. 😉 But I think it might work better to say “Please see if I missed anything, and I’ll do that for you too” rather than “I insist on checking your child’s head, and just so’s we’re even, you can check mine too.”
    Also, many experts say the sprays for carseats and the like aren’t necessary, so don’t go straight for righteous indignation if she says she’s not using them. She may be doing research too and just getting different results.

  4. PinkieBling
    February 8, 2012

    OMG I am so itchy after reading this!

  5. lh
    February 8, 2012

    One more thing: If your daughter’s hair is long enough, keep it tightly braided the entire time she’s visiting with her friend, including while she’s asleep. This is of course totally not effective without the other steps but it is just an additional measure you can take to try and limit spreading.

    I’ve also read (everywhere I researched) that lice sprays are ineffective. I’ve never used them either, and during my nearly thirteen years of parenthood we’ve had lice twice (we have three long-haired girls and I have long hair also) and gotten rid of them by following all the other suggestions above. So please don’t assume the mother is somehow being neglectful if she “admits” that she’s not using something that’s expensive and probably does not work.

  6. Shannon
    February 8, 2012

    These instructions are a bit overboard. I am actually home today from work because my 2-yr-old got sent home from daycare with lice. We did have the professional company (licehappens.com) come over and they were great. They didn’t clean our house, but they spent an hour combing the sh*t out of my (long, thick) hair and my toddler’s (long, thick) hair and found a total of about 10 nits and 2 live lice – a mild case. The key is to wet-comb the hair of the child EVERY DAY FOR 10 DAYS with a special comb, preferably one called The Terminator. You have to comb every hair in all 4 directions (comb back, comb forward, comb each side) by lightly scraping the scalp. That is what is going to get rid of 99% of the lice/nits. We checked and combed our daughter today after the pro did it yesterday and we were both still 100% nit and louse-free.

    I spent my day off reading all the reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Here: http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/pediatrics;126/2/392.pdf

    Getting lice from pillows, bedding, etc., is actually VERY RARE. For children, it is primarily head-to-head contact. Lice die without a scalp to live on within 48 hours. You can dry bedding, stuffed animals, pillows for 20 minutes on high heat, or quarantine everything else in a room or closet for 48 hours. Vacuum rugs and furniture. Importantly, parents and siblings should also be checked and treated with wet combing, since they often get it w/out knowing. Only about 50% of people experience any itching, so often people/kids have lice with no knowledge.

    For prevention, you can use an eco/natrual peppermint, tea tea oil, or rosemary spray on their hair EVERY day that your kids interact with other kids (until age 13!). And like the poster above mentioned, girls should wear ponytails or braids to help reduce risk of getting lice.

    The professional we used said kids often put their heads together to look at/share portable electronics. (iPhone, iPad, etc.) Interesting point!

    Also, AAP and CDC recommend against the no-nit policies that many schools used to have. They say no need to send kids home from school, but parents should be informed to check and do treatment.

  7. A
    February 8, 2012

    Vacuuming the mattresses/carseats/couch is more effective (and has fewer chemicals being inhaled by the kids) than lice repellent sprays.
    Last year my kindergartener kept bringing lice home because the school refused to send a note home to all the other kids (I’m serious!) and our doctor gave us these suggestions:

    1. When she gets home from school bag her jacket/hat/backpack/etc.

    2. Have her jump right in the shower, wash her hair, apply some oil with tea tree and rosemary oil in it, and blow dry her hair.

    3. Put her hair in a bun on top of her head before school and urge her not to put her head near anyone elses.

    These in combination with weekly lice checks really worked for us. I would suggest doing all these things when your DD goes to the friend’s house and do a lice check on the friend if she comes to yours. Excellent suggestions about the mutual lice checks at each house, you could be missing some too.

  8. Shannon
    February 8, 2012

    Also, no need to toss brushes and combs. Again, lice/nits need scalp blood to survive and can only live within a certain temp range. You can throw combs/brushes in the dishwasher (for extreme high heat) or put them in the freezer (extreme low heat) for 48 hours.

  9. Sarah
    February 8, 2012

    I don’t know how old your daughter is, but it was one of the ten commandments in my house that we did not touch anyone else’s hair, hair things, brushes, combs, or hats, let alone put them near or on our heads, since pre-school at least. This was more strictly enforced than the no-hitting rule, honest to God.

  10. Tom
    February 8, 2012

    There is some really good info in the AAP link above. Specifically, I picked up this:
    Transmission in most cases occurs by direct contact with the head of an infested individual. Indirect spread through contact with personal belongings of an infested individual (combs, brushes, hats) is much less likely but may occur rarely.
    Lice found on combs are likely to be injured or dead, and a healthy louse is not likely to leave a healthy head unless there is a heavy infestation. This is further illustrated by 2 studies from Australia. In 1 study, examination of carpets on 118 classroom floors found no lice despite more than 14 000 live lice found on the heads of 466 children using these classrooms. In a second study, live lice were found on only  4% of pillowcases used by infested volunteers. Thus, the major focus of control activities should be to reduce the number of lice on the head and to lessen the risks of head-to-head contact.

  11. wookie
    February 9, 2012

    The tone of the comment “Don’t be surprised if she admits to ‘nothing'” sort of stuck in my craw a bit, after my research on the topic of sprays.  My reading has steered me away from “lice repellent sprays” as well.  

    Through vaccuming (we vaccum the mattresses, car seats and under/behind the beds and couches), high-heat for the bedding, bag up all the stuffed animals for 3 weeks etc. totally, but the sprays are (from what I’ve read) pretty much useless.  We didn’t throw out our combs but I did boil all the combs and brushes and set one aside per kid to use for nit checks.

    Not meaning to contradict any of the advice, just throwing out what I learned in my 2 week battle.  

  12. Lice Knowing You
    February 9, 2012

    There is some serious misinformation in this blog. First of all, you do not ever need to throw anything away. Hairbrushes, combs and other accessories can be collected and put in a ziplock bag and stuck in your freezer for 3-4 hours. Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, needs to be placed in garbage bags or quarantined. While lice can live off your head 24-48 hours, once they have been off a human host for longer than about 12 hours, they can no longer feed or lay eggs. Eggs or nuts will not hatch off the head. The most effective way to prevent lice is to perform weekly head live checks on your kids. We recommend wet head lice checks. We have a video on our website which teaches you how to do a wet check. http://www.liceknowingyou.com. If you get Luce, remember that 99% off the issue is on your head and only a small amount is required environmentally.

  13. Lice Knowing You
    February 9, 2012

    Auto correct is frustrating– nits not nuts, lice not live or Luce (:

  14. the mom
    February 10, 2012

    Thanks for the great advice – I hope I can use all of this info to help my daughter and her friend finally end this awful cycle.

  15. Tracy
    February 13, 2012

    Good luck – please let us know what happens!

  16. Jenny
    February 13, 2012

    Tea tree oil. My friend who is a foster mom always puts a little tea tree oil on the scalp and massages it. You can literally see the lice jump from the head, they hate it so much. 

  17. ann
    February 16, 2012

    I found the following much easier to deal with:

    put hairbrushes/combs in the freezer after each use. only use them on the person in the family with lice.sometimes i even put stuffed animals in the freezer if it was with my child at night who has lice. if you have a big standing freezer you can fit bedding in it.

    instead of washing everything……the lice can only live so long if they don’t have food………have the person with lice sleep in a different place each night. there own bed. the floor on a sleeping bag the next night. the floor in the living room the next night with a sleeping bag. use a different pillow case each night. it works and you don’t have to go crazy. comb the persons hair everynight and pic the nits out. great time to have conversation….really it is.

  18. Carol
    March 11, 2013

    Lice is not as bad as everyone thinks. Lice cannot infest your house just your head. People are spending too much energy cleaning when they should be combing. If a louse came off your head it would be dead in 24 hours. All you need to do in your house is the following:  wash sheets and pillowcases (not pillows!), stuffed animals that are slept with can go in the dryer for 30 minutes. Vacuum upholstery and floors, Boil any brushes and combs for 5 minutes. This all needs to be done on the first day, That’s it! Concentrate on using a non-toxic treatment with a good metal nit comb. If you need help, please call us at 866-561-0492.  www.FairyLiceMothers.com

    • ??
      January 2, 2015

      putting tea tree oil directly on skin is not good, it can burn. it’s better to put a little into shampoo in between treatments

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