Guest Author - Lisa Polovin Pinkus
If you allow your children out of the house, chances are they will eventually bring lice home with them. Lice are a common pest and are easily spread from person to person. Think of the backpacks hanging next to each other on school walls or children huddled together in conversation or games.
Lice do not fly or jump. They crawl and are transmitted by direct or indirect (sharing a hairbrush) person-to-person contact. Lice live in human hair and can cause serious scalp itching. They are not picky about whose head they live in, though there are some people who seem to avoid contracting lice.
If someone in your family comes home with lice, itís time to drop everything and focus on getting rid of the pesky critters. Embarrassed as you may be, it is important to inform anyone who your child was in close contact with prior to discovering the lice. It is also important to be thorough in your lice treatment because you certainly do not want them to linger or to return.
Treat everyone in your house as though they have lice. Be diligent in your treatment and do not slack off until a week has passed. Nits (eggs) take 7 Ė 10 days to hatch so you want to continue treatment for at least a week. Clear your calendar for the next few days. The repeated shampooing, endless laundering, vacuuming, and other precautionary tasks are time consuming. Decrease your stress by clearing your calendar.
1. Find a lice shampoo free of dangerous chemicals and substances. Total Lice Control by A Gift of Nature uses a specific combination of three essential oils to combat lice. Get the shampoo in your familyís hair as soon as possible. It is important to read the directions and make sure to saturate every part of the hair and scalp. If you miss a tiny spot, the lice can congregate there and continue to breed. The shampoo is not a one-time deal. Most of them require several shampoos throughout the week.
2. With a lice comb (that typically comes in the box), you will need to pick the nits out of your childís head. This needs to be extremely thorough because you do not want to leave any remnants of lice in their hair. It is best to sit the child in natural sunlight when looking for the nits and lice.
3. Keep children off of couches and fabric-backed chairs until you have shampooed them and combed them out. If they need to sit on a couch, be sure to cover it with a sheet for easy cleaning.
4. Set aside school backpacks in a non-carpeted area. You will need to put these in the dryer and expose them to 15 minutes of heat before using them again. In fact, I would continue to do this every day after school for the next week.
5. Take all sheets off the beds. They also need to be exposed to at least 15 minutes of heat. It is up to you if you want to wash them before heating them. You will need to repeat this for the next seven days as well.
6. Gather all stuffed animals, put them in a garbage bag, and - either throw them away (now is your chance) or leave them in the garage for two weeks. If an animal is a must-have, you can also put it in the dryer and expose it to heat.
7. Vacuum your couches. The presence of lice is a personal message to mothers to stop everything and spring clean the house. Most of us are so disturbed by lice that we will vacuum more thoroughly than ever before. Also be sure to get all your carpets and rugs.
8. Once you are done vacuuming, cover your couches with bed sheets. During the day, your family can sit on the covered couches. At the end of the day, you will take the sheets and put them in the dryer and then recover the couches for the next day.
9. Some of you may want to get rid of all your hair accessories and start over. Others may be fine with bagging the brushes, combs, and accessories and putting them in the freezer for a period of at least 24 hours. You may also consider leaving the hair accessories in the freezer for the week and taking them out when you need to use them.
10. Car seats are often overlooked in the lice cleaning routine. Make sure to vacuum any cars seats or boosters you have. While youíre at it, you might as well clean out the car and vacuum the floors!
11. For some of us, the high dose of cleaning along with the nit picking is too much in an already crazy week. There are people who make it their job to help you get rid of lice. Combatting lice is time consuming so if you know this will stretch you to your limits, look for help. The lice control services can be expensive, but many of you may determine that itís worth the price!
When your family has lice, it is a major inconvenience. But that is really all that it is. If you are diligent and thorough, you will be rid of them in no time.