This is part 3 of a 3 part series on dealing with head lice. The first post addressed basic information about lice and products, the second addressed treating lice and cleaning the home, and the third addresses prevention. I am not a doctor; this post is based on my personal experience with lice, and is not intended to replace medical advice. Check with your doctor concerning diagnosis, and treatment options.
Before I talk about preventing head lice, let me back up and clarify my treatment methods that I spoke of last week. I don’t think I told everyone what we used for treatment. In all honesty, we used both the chemicals (prescription, and non-prescription) as well as the natural remedies. I cannot speak to which helped more, but I can speak to being diligent in re-treatments, looking for nits, and cleaning the home made a big impact in our success.
Now that you have escorted the lice off of your child’s head, and out of your home, let’s talk about prevention. Keep in mind that lice like clean hair. They’re also more likely to lean towards fine, thick hair, but thin, course, or curly haired people are not immune. Remember, they attach their eggs to the shaft of the hair with a sticky substance. So the easier it is for them to attach their eggs, the more at risk you are to contracting lice.
Search around for preventative methods to decide which will work for your family, but here’s what I’ve found:
Hair products. Several years ago, there weren’t many head lice preventing shampoos readily available. Now, I feel as though I see them everywhere. Look for products that use essential oils, proven to repel lice (such as rosemary, or tea tree oil). Like most bugs, there are essential oils that head lice do not like, so they stay away from them. The line of products that I like to use on my daughters’ hair is from Fairy Tales Hair Care for Kids: Rosemary Repel. You can find these products online through amazon, or on the company’s website linked above. Their website also includes a store locater, so that you can find a local retailer carrying their products. I like these products because they’re not as strong as other products on the market. I use the shampoo and conditioner on all of my girls’ hair (ages 7, 3, and 14 months). My baby just recently started receiving this shampoo. The shampoos are not designed for a baby’s sensitive skin, so I waited before testing the products on her. I don’t use this on my boys, because we typically keep their hair short. And if they do contract head lice, the first thing I’ll do for them is shave their heads. The prevention products are more expensive than the regular shampoos, so I use them conservatively.
- Essential Tea Tree Oil. Some shampoos already have tea tree oil in them, but you can add this oil to your shampoo yourself. I like this option, because I can use it when I want rather than all the time. I will pour the shampoo in my palm, add 1-2 drops of the oil, then use the shampoo as normal. Once again, tea tree oil should not be ingested, only used topically. Also, remember to use it sparingly, and test it on your skin before using, since tea tree oil can cause allergic reactions. I am sensitive to this oil, which is why I can’t use it everyday. However, if I’m suspicious of head lice, I’ll pull out the oil for a few days.
- Pray. You read that right…pray! When headed off to camp, or spending a few nights in a hotel, your child is at risk for head lice. Lets face it, it’s questionable if the janitorial staff of every hotel are changing all the linens completely, so I doubt they are throwing those pillows in the dryer or vacuuming the couches. The fact is, if the person using that room before you checked in had head lice, those little boogers may have been left in the room. Do a lot of praying before you get there, and trust God.
Other things like keeping the hair pulled back, and spraying it are good ideas as well. Often times I’ll do a brief check of my daughter’s hair once every few months, just in case. Also keep in mind that if you’re treating lice, don’t take your child to events where she can spread head lice. Many schools will require the child to be nit free before returning. You’ll have to check with your child’s school policy, or church policy in regards to church activities.
I realize that these 3 posts are not exhaustive in regards to head lice, but my hope is that what I’ve learned will help you in your personal research of getting rid of lice.
Is there anything else you would add to help someone get rid of head lice, or to prevent it?
Part 3: prevention