No parent likes to receive a note home from your kid’s school, but nothing strikes fear quite like a memo that reads “head lice confirmed in your child’s classroom.” The moment you pull it out of your kid’s backpack, you swear you can feel the creepy crawlies on your head, but don’t panic.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, head lice is really not a big deal. Yes, it’s gross, but as far as your health goes, this is more of a nuisance than any real concern. Among children three to 11 years old, an estimated six to 12 million head lice infestations occur each year in the United States so you’re certainly not alone in the battle to rid them from your house.
Whether you’re worried about that memo home from your kid’s school or you’re looking to rid them from your home, there are ways you can do so without the use of harmful chemicals. Check out these natural ways to prevent and treat head lice that will hopefully get rid of them for good.
Sharing isn’t always caring. Lice is spread by head-to-head contact with someone who has lice and that’s easily done with school kids who love to share. Teach your children to keep their hats and hair accessories to themselves, especially when a case of lice has been confirmed.
Tie hair up in ponytails or braids. If you know lice are active at the school, tie your kid’s hair up in a ponytail or braid for school. If you want to add some extra protection from lice, place some strands of dried rosemary into your child’s ponytail.
Try a drop of Tea Tree oil. Janet Taylor, a mother of two from Ontario, Canada suggests using tea tree oil as a way to help prevent lice by putting a few drops in your child’s shampoo. You can also buy products with the oil already in the ingredients and with tea tree oil being a natural insecticide, it can keep the bugs from attaching to your hair.
Just a little bit of rosemary hair spray. Add a detangler spray to your child’s hair care routine and look for one with rosemary and tea tree oil, which act as natural repellents to lice. Spray on your child’s hair every morning before heading to daycare or school to help prevent infection.
Nitpick and comb. Tried and true, but utterly tedious, using a special “nit comb” brush your child’s hair in sections and remove any nits and lice you see. Lice can’t live long once they’re no longer attached to your hair and scalp, so removing them is an excellent way to kill them off.
Try castor oil or olive oil. Katie McKeown, a Naturopathic Doctor from Ontario, Canada suggests using oil to rid hair of lice. “Castor oil applied to the hair and left for an hour, comb through with a nit comb then rinse,” she suggests. McKeown says doing so “suffocates them and they slip off the hair,” making it easier to find them all.
Clean everything. If you want to prevent re-infestation, you need to make sure you clean everything that comes into contact with your head. From hats and hair accessories to pillow cases and sports helmets – washing with hot water and soap and let them soak. Do a good vacuum of all the carpet, couches and car seats and store any stuffed animals in plastic bags for two weeks (to suffocate any nits or live lice).
TapGenes Takeaway: Whether you’re looking to prevent or treat head lice, there are many natural ways you can keep your family’s head lice-free.