If you recently found head lice in the family, be assured you’re just one of the 6-12 million worldwide who get head lice every year. It’s a common parasite usually found on school age children between the ages of 3 and 11, and getting lice does not mean the person is dirty or unhygienic. In fact, head lice don’t seem to have a preference for clean or dirty scalps.
To effective get rid of lice, it’s important to explore a little about them and their behavior. Then you must choose a safe solution to rid your home and hair of lice for good.
Mild symptoms of lice can go unnoticed for a while if you don’t know what to look for. School age children should be checked if they exhibit any of these signs:
- Excessive head scratching
- Red, rash-like marks behind the ears and nape of the neck
- Small white nits (eggs) glued to hair shafts close to the scalp
- A "crawling" feeling on the scalp
If you see the sesame-seed sized critters on your child’s head, you know for sure.
Some people are under the impression that lice can infest a home but that’s not true. Lice can’t live long away from a host so they don’t ‘nest’ in your furniture or carpet like fleas or bedbugs. Lice eggs must be incubated by the warmth and humidity of the host’s scalp and will not hatch outside of this environment.
After you treat your child’s head, however, you will want to thoroughly wash and clean bed linens and clothes, as well as lightly vacuum carpets and furniture. You should also sanitize combs, brushes and other hair care products. This will eliminate any individual fleas which may have fallen off your child’s scalp and are looking to reattach.
It’s also important to note that lice are highly contagious and will jump to a new available host with head-to-head contact. If one person in your home has lice, it’s likely that someone else does as well.
Not all treatment options for head lice removal are equal- some are safer and more effective than others. Here are our choices for natural or professional options to treat your family’s lice:
- Smothering Agents: Smothering agents work on a simple principle of suffocating lice and nits with thick, safe products like mayonnaise, olive oil and petroleum jelly. The most common method is to slather the hair and scalp with your preferred product overnight in a shower cap, followed by brushing the hair through with a fine-tooth comb. Unlike using essential oils or chemical shampoos, none of these options pose irritation or environmental risks. As with all topical remedies, it’s recommended that you treat the person twice over two weeks to catch any nits which may have survived the first treatment. You will need to repeat the home-cleaning process at this time as well.
- Calling Professionals: Sometimes lice persist despite our best efforts, and especially when they’re found to have infested several people in the home. Luckily, there are surprisingly affordable lice removal services to offer relief. Excellent lice removal services offer natural, chemical free solutions and can meet you at home or at a clinic. If you are struggling to rid your home of lice or if you have multiple cases at once, strongly consider contacting professionals to help.
Remember that lice can’t live away from their hosts, so you don’t have to worry about colonies of lice infesting your home. You will have to clean your linens and furniture but nothing compared to other parasitic infestations. Stay calm and examine all the members of your family and treat anyone with signs of lice at once. Being diligent will go a long way in ridding your home of lice.