When our children start school. A problem we are not always aware of until it’s too late. An infestation of the dreaded head lice and their tiny eggs known as nits. Let me tell you if it happens and you are not prepared the whole ordeal seems like a nightmare. However, if you are prepared and have a plan whereby you avoid the whole experience. You and your child/ren will be spared a great deal of angst.
How Do You Get Lice?
Head lice are transferred either by direct head to head contact. Or by sharing brushes and/or combs etcetera. Lice do not jump or fly they spread by crawling. For instance, if an infested head is in contact with another, for example, while hugging. While working closely together or while playing. The lice will crawl from one head to another. Head lice are commonly spread between children at school and can be passed on to family members/friends.
If an individual whose head is infested leans against a headrest or lays on a pillow. Lice may be transferred if someone else leans or lays on the object at the same time or soon after. Lice do not survive more than a few hours after leaving a host, the head.
What Does Lice Look Like?
Lice, the adult, is a wingless parasitic insect. White-ish or reddish brown in color with six legs each having a claw at the end. Lice usually move around the scalp as they feed on tiny amounts of blood from the scalp to survive. When you part the hair you will see them crawling around. They are very quick moving.
Lice eggs are commonly known as nits. You will find them attached to hair fibers close to the scalp. Nits are tiny white, yellow, tan or brown dots similar in appearance to a sesame seed. Before they hatch. When you squeeze an unhatched nit it will make a popping sound. The warmth from the scalp hatches the lice eggs.
Hatched eggs are transparent or white in appearance. They remain attached to the hair fiber and consequently grow out as the hair grows. Female lice can lay many eggs per day. Nits (eggs) take one to two weeks to hatch. And the cycle continues.
Most experience a tickling or crawling sensation when lice are present. And may feel the need to scratch. However, this is not always the case so it is best to check frequently for any signs of infestation. Lice bites may cause the scalp to itch depending on the host’s scalp sensitivity. Once per week is a good idea to check for the presence of lice. Especially if there are reports from others at school or among your acquaintances of their presence.
Where Do Lice Come From?
Lice have been around for a long long time. They are continuously spread and have never successfully been completely eradicated. Lice move from head to head feeding and laying eggs. They do not have a preference for clean or dirty hair. So don’t be under the misconception lice only seek out unwashed and dirty hair. This is not the case.
Lice In Hair
Finding lice in hair can be daunting. There is no one treatment that works for everybody. Using a fine tooth comb part the hair into sections. Hold it in place with a clip of some sort as it makes the task easier having two free hands. Remove adult lice as you find them and squash them between your fingers. Or just drop them into a container filled with water and vinegar as you remove each one.
Finding nits (eggs) present the best way to get rid of them completely is to remove them from the hair fiber one by one. Use your fingernail to do this. Move through each section of hair pulling them off the hair fibers until complete. Remove any hatched eggs as you go because they will not detach from the hair and remain visible as hair grows. They must be removed from each strand of hair one by one by hand as they do not wash out. This is a time-consuming task. Believe me!
Home Remedies For Lice
Yes! Essential Oils are used by many as a preventative for head lice and nit infestation. Using essential oils was very much my savior and I recommend you give it a try. They worked for our family.
The essential oils most effective are the combination of tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender, and rosemary oils. Purchase a five hundred milliliter spray bottle and 3/4 fill it with tap water. Add five drops of each oil to the spray bottle and replace the lid of the bottle. Give it a swirl. Spray the scalp and hair and then comb it through to the ends of the hair. Leave the hair wet as you style it.
The oils provide a coating over the hair fiber making it difficult for the lice eggs to attach. Another huge plus for using essential oils. As well as the oils being great for keeping hair healthy and shiny.
It is important to note this treatment only works if you use it every day without fail.
Trust me, when I say it is well worth it as these days lice are becoming resistant to most of the chemical treatments on the market.
My Lice Experience
During her first year at school, my eldest daughter got nits. She must have had the infestation for quite a while before alerting me. When I looked through her hair I was alarmed, to say the least. As I parted it into sections there were hundreds of empty nit shells attached to the hair fibers. Not knowing where to begin, there were so many. I cried, to be honest.
My daughter’s hair was so thick and long, it took me five hours to get through it to remove all of the empty shells. By the end, she and I were so upset by the whole experience. It was exhausting!
It took me a while to find out about the use of essential oils and the concept of home remedies. But, once I started using them I never looked back. My three girls each had their own water bottle as they all did their own hair. They all used it every day without fail throughout all of their schooling years. And we never had a problem with head lice again. Thank goodness!
They all sprayed their hair and scalps every morning and combed it through to the ends. My daughters also wore their hair tied up to attend school. This is recommended as an extra preventative. Every bit helps!
I highly recommend the use of essential oils. At least give them a try for yourself. Lice and nits are a horrendous ordeal, to say the least. Ask any parent who has been through the experience.