EEEEK!! Your child has come home with nits and head lice.
It happens, to most of us. Luckily, although they are a pain, there are a few easy ways of getting rid of nits and lice using products from your cupboard at home.
A good thing all parents should have at home at all times is a lice comb, they are available from your local Pharmacy for just a few dollars. If you aren’t sure what lice and nits look like, check out this Youtube video so you can get a good idea!
What do Nits or Lice Actually Look Like?
If you have never seen them before, sometimes they can be hard to detect. Of course, there is scratching, but most nits and lice seem to like the nape of the neck and infect there first, so check there first. If you have no idea what you are even looking for, this Youtube video will really help! The best description I can think is ‘large white pepper’ in the hair. But you will see the lice actually crawling around!
If your child has them at school, usually the school will give you a call to come and collect your child. Don’t worry, they have seen it all before! Ask them to show you so you can see what you are looking for – most schools are happy to work with parents on this issue – so don’t feel icky about it.
If lice are going around, it is a good idea to check your childrens’ hair regularly.
Fun Fact About Nits: A female louse can lay up to ten eggs per day!!!!
Tip: Parents can get lice too! When treating your child’s hair, wear a shower cap!
Home Remedies for Nits and Lice
- When the kids are in the bath – pour plain white vinegar through their hair (be careful you don’t get it in their eyes, it will sting!). Leave it in overnight and wash it out in the morning and comb through with a nit comb. You will need to repeat this method three to four days later.
- Use a cheap conditioner and cover the kids hair with a shower cap and leave it for a few hours. Then comb through with a nit comb to remove eggs. You will have to repeat 3 – 4 days later in case you miss any eggs.
- Mayonnaise is meant to work in the same was as conditioner method above – and it makes your hair lovely and shiny.
- Olive oil also works by ‘smothering’ the lice and the eggs. Massage through to the scalp – leave for a few hours if you can – then wash thoroughly. Use a comb to remove what’s left!
- If you have Selsun Blue or Selsun Gold (anti-dandruff shampoos), wash your child’s hair with the Selsun and leave in the hair for 30 minutes (place a shower cap on to prevent the soap getting into their eyes), then wash out, condition and use a lice comb.
Fun Fact: Lice cannot ‘jump’ and do not have ‘wings’. Transmission is usually made when direct head-to-head contact – which is why lice are more prevalent in kids!
Nit and Lice Prevention Sprays
There are a lot of ways to try and stop the prevention of nits and lice in the first place. This easy homemade spray is a nice smelling deterrent for lice.
- 1 spray bottle
- 1 tablespoon conditioner
- 10 drops either Tea Tree, Lavender or Eucalyptus Oil
Place the conditioner and essential oils in a spray bottle and fill with tap water. Every morning whilst doing your children’s hair, give it a quick spray with the mixture. Makes a great de-tangler too!
After Nit/Lice Treatments
Even though lice can only live on the hair follicle, it is a great idea to wash hats, sheets, pillowcases and headbands etc in your washing machine (on the hottest cycle) with a few drops of essential oils. Also wash any hair brushes by removing the hair and discarding, placing the hair brush in a bucket with boiling water and a little washing up detergent.
If all else fails, it’s time to head to the chemist for something a little stronger. There are two types of head lice treatments available from pharmacies, the insecticide treatments, and the herbal treatments. Commonly available insecticide preparations include:
Herbal Preparations from the Chemist include:
- MOOV Headlice Solution: Comes in a 200ml bottle and the liquid is quite thick, gloopy, bright green and smells very strongly of eucalyptus. It is easy to apply and you only need to leave it on the hair for 10 minutes then repeat at day 7 and day 14. Retails for around $20. Advantages are that you don’t need to use the nit comb and I like the fact it only takes 10 minutes. They also have a huge range of other products to deter headlice.
- EcoKid Lice Bomb
- Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Lice Kit
Under no circumstance should you use kerosene, turpentine, methylated spirits, dog or cat flea/tick treatments or insect sprays on your child to kill nits and lice – these are completely dangerous practices which can cause harm to your child.
If you require any further information we have some hotlines and suggested websites for further information and advice*.
*SAHM takes no responsibility for any illness, injury or death caused by misuse of this information. All information provided is correct at time of publication.