Sunday, May 22, 2011

Our First Experience with Head Lice + Nits & A Natural Spray Recipe

Two weeks ago, our family had its first encounter with nits (eggs) and head lice (the creature). This is pretty remarkable since our kids are aged 9.7.6 and 2 and also considering that they have been constanly around other kids as they have grown.

Anyway, we got away with it....until now!

Two weeks ago when Ethi was scratching at his head, I checked and sure enough there were eggs everywhere. So I decided just to shave his head to avoid a huge outbreak.

As I shaved his head, I realised that there were live ones in there (yuck).

Here's what I did to treat him:
{insert thanks here to the internet, my friends Jeneen and Kobe for their advice about it all!}...

Step 1. Shave his head.
Step 2. Dowse his head in a mix of white vingear and water.
Step 3. Get him to shower and wash his head well.
Step 4. Try to manually remove any visible lice or nits with a nit comb.
Step 5. Apply coconut oil all over his head when dry.
Step 6. Apply the preventative spray (even though it was more of a treatment spray at this point!) which consists of the following...

Preventative Nit/Lice Spray Recipe:

(This makes up enough to put in a spray bottle like the one in the pici below which cost $1 from KMart)

300ml water
100 ml white vinegar
20 drops tea tree oil
40 drops eucalyptus oil
40 drops lavendar oil

Add it all into a large measuring jug, stir, then pour into the spray bottle.

It seemed to do the trick because I only had to do this once and then there was no sign of them anymore!
Today, two weeks after Ethi had them, I realised Zippi had eggs :( and some small live lice :( on her head...poor little girl.
So we head to try a different way to deal with things this time since we had decided not to shave her head!

Here's what I did to treat her today:

Step 1. Used the nit comb to try and manually remove as many eggs and nits as I could with her hair being dry.
Step 2: Repeat Step 1!
Step 2: Spray her hair all over using the Preventative Spray (recipe above)
Step 3: Using the nit comb, try to manually remove as many eggs and nits I could with her hair now being wet (I've read that vinegar in particular helps to loosen the 'glue' that the louse uses to attach the nit (egg) to the hair folicle)
Step 4: Repeat Step 2!
Step 5: Repeat Step 3!
Step 6: Coat the hair in a HUGE amount of cheap (but organic!) conditioner...I probably used about a quarter of a bottle at this point {I've also read that spreading on mayonaise and wrapping the hair in cling wrap can produce a similar result}
Step 7: Using the nit comb, try to manually remove as many eggs and nits I could with her hair now being completely smothered in thick conidtioner. Wipe the comb with a wipe or paper towel to remove lice/nits.
Step 8: Repeat Step 6!
Step 9: Repeat Step 7!
Step 10: Wash hair throughly in shower

When Ethi got nits, considering it was the first time for us, we decied to take this opportunity to learn a little about these creatures.

We had a look at a dead louse under our he is at 60x magnification (it's pretty gross!)

The kids remembered watching an 'Arthur' episode once about lice so I searched for it and we watched it online which helped to explain to the kids how lice are spread...

{Please NB: This is a double episode. We only watched the first episode I have no idea what the second one is}



We learnt that lice cannot jump nor do they fly so they can only come to take up residence in another head by hair to hair contact.


We found THIS WEBSITE CALLED 'HEADLICE.ORG FOR KIDS' which had a lot of valuable kid-friendly info on it.

I printed off a WORD SEARCH from this website and the kids filled this in while I was combing through Ethi's hair.

They also took the HEAD LICE QUIZ just because they asked if they could! lol :)


I printed off THIS PDF COLOURING IN BOOK ON HEAD LICE AND HOW TO PREVENT IT SPREADING and each of the kids coloured in a couple of pages each. We made these into a little book to read another time.

Hopefully, this will be the last of it for a while (since treatment this morning, Zip hasn't scratched at all which is a good sign).

What do you do to treat nits/lice in your children? Would love to read your tips!

More another day,


Karen said...

I remember the constant battle with headlice - no matter how much effort I put into getting all the eggs and lice out of the kids hair it makes no difference when other parents didn't put in the same effort. I found the easiest was plain cheap hair conditioner and a lice comb.
Good luck!

Mommy Set Free said... the time I got the end of this post I was scratching my head like crazy!!! :-) Great post though!

We have never had to deal with this...but I will remember this post if we do. :-)

Still scratching...

Diane said...

scrtch, scrtch, scrtch. :)
Because we cannot cope with eucalyptus or tea tree oils and the likes we have a basic routine for ridding ourselves of these unwelcome visitors. We soak our hair in our normal conditioner (because we are allergic to the perfumes in most, if not all, cheap conditioners)and then comb through with a nit comb. Most of the boys get their heads shaved and the girls have a hair cut for manageability.
My daughters regularly nit comb their hair in the shower after conditioning. This has been a successful management plan.

lusi said...

Karen and Diane - thanks for sharing about what has worked with your families.

Pamela, I know! It always makes me itchy just thinking about the little critters! lol!

Love Lus x

singing mama said...

When lily was at school, she got nits constantly :( I treated with tea tree and lavender mostly. There was an organice spray at the chemist that I would spray in her hair after doing all the washing thru and combing and conditioning very similar to what you did, then I would spray TONS of the tea tree spray in and then if plait het hair into smallish plaits (she has thick hair so this step took a long time) she had lots of plaits in her hair and then she would sleep with her hair like this and leave the plaits in for around three days. This got rid of them and it allowed us to keep her hair longish - ie not quite shoulder length. The other thing I started to do was give her a tea tree treatment once a fortnight ish AND we discovered that nits prefer clean hair. If I leave her hair unwashed for longer then she seemed not to get them. Too much washing was not good. Also remember to wash all bedding of the infected person with hot water and tea tree oil. I hate nits!! But we haven't haf them since moving here and I hope we don't have them for awhile!!!
What a great natural spray recipe! If I do come across them again, I will def make some of that!!
Luv Donna

Sumara said...

We've had way more than our fair share of lice here. After trying every treatment from the chemist and many kinds of oil, the only thing that works for us is to mix tea tree oil into normal shampoo. Wash with that, rinse, then do conditioner mixed with tea tree oil & leave on as long as possible. The stronger the better. Then, lots of combing/picking to get the eggs. I've found combing to be pretty much useless actually, so I just use my fingers to scrape down each hair.

Then, I try to spray their hair each day with water with a smaller amount of tea tree oil mixed in.

Still... like someone else said, as long as some people keep sending their kids to school with hair out and not paying attention to the problem, they just keep coming back. :(

lusi said...

Thanks Donna and Sumi for your tips :-)
Love you both x

Angie said...

My SIL works in a large daycare and they recommend using shampoo, conditioner and / or a daily hair spray with some tea tree oil in it as a preventative measure also, if the girls with long hair keep it bound it is apparently harder for them to get in there.

lusi said...

Thanks Angie for that tip!
Love Lusi x

Anonymous said...

My daughter got a dose of head lice from school about 2 years ago. It was a terrible experience mainly because the week she got it was the same week my mother in law came to visit from Queensland.

I was so embarrassed that my daughter has head live and my mother in law was helping to comb her hair and get the eggs out eeewwwww!!!

Anyway after an urgent trip to the chemist we washed her hair with one of those over the counter treatments and the problem was gone. I pray she never gets that again as it was no fun for any of us.

I wish I had known your treatment formular back then as it sounds much nicer.

Hope your having a lovely week end. From Susan McGuire.

Nat said...

Ahhh, these little blighters are regulars in our home too. We even call them 'bugs' coz Lani has them so often (and myself too actually!) - we do both have pretty long hair though. I've been using tea tree oil in water spray every day on her hair lately to try to keep them at bay. I just got rid of them from the hair by using conditioner and the nit comb (just bought a new one with two rows of fine metal teeth), I don't really like using the shampoos, esp if they smell a lot (the kids don't like the high-chemical ones and neither do I. I might add some lavender to my spray too, I didn't realise that helps too!! And I think I might have to try the tea tree oil in the shampoo and conditioner too.


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