Family Life

Winning the War on Head Lice

Winning the war on head lice


Warning:  If your head isn’t already itching it’s about to.  

School emailed at least twice this week warning of head lice in some classes.  The calm, rational side of my brain knows in the grand scheme of things head lice is so not a big deal – – – the panicky bug hating side of my brain wants to grab the kids and start picking through their heads like a momma monkey.

The panicky bug hating side won.  I hate all bugs.

Didn’t both kids share a pillow with me for at least one night within the past week??
Daddy monkey better get over here and start picking through my hair.

Ugh?!?!  All jokes aside we have lived through head lice before and if we have to fight it again in this house ThisIrishFamily is armed and ready.

Our Preventative Head Lice Regime:

Since having head lice in the house two summers ago we’ve been militant with our preventative regime.

  • Use a shampoo that contains natural head lice repellents.

We use Vosene 3-in-1 conditioning shampoo because it’s pretty readily available and contains tea tree oil and lemon eucalyptus but there are plenty of products out there.  ThisIrishBoy tends to break out in eczema so when we find something that works and doesn’t give him a break out we stick with it.

  • Use a daily defence spray

Again our go to is the Vosene Daily Conditioning Defence Spray.  If I’m honest it doesn’t smell the best but I just haven’t gotten around to finding something new.  I can be pretty hit and miss if the kids get a squirt behind the ears or not before school. Since the school has emailed the spray is in plain sight so we don’t forget….and we ALWAYS spray the kids before we head to an indoor play area.

  • Always tie hair up

ThisIrishGirl knows by now wearing her hair down at school is just not an option.

  • Regularly Comb Hair with the Nitty Gritty Nit Free Comb

If you don’t have one of these combs and you have a kid in primary school you need to invest in one. They are about €15 and worth every penny.  When the school emails about an outbreak the kids get a good comb through after showers 1-2 times per week.  If there are any creepy crawlers in their it pulls them right out hopefully before they lay any eggs.  The Nitty Gritty comb was developed by mums and is really the best  anti-lice comb I’ve come across.

NittyGritty NitFree Comb

Our go to NittyGritty Nit Free Comb

Waging War on Head Lice:

It happens to the best of us- head lice is unavoidable.  So here’s how to wage war if you do find head lice.  By way of warning though….two summers ago three of us in the house ended up with head lice (myself included).  We all know I am a bug hating germaphobe so I potentially went a bit overboard in my battle – but we got rid of them!  All of the following steps were after very careful and thorough Pinterest review on the topic.  Turns out the BIGGEST difficulty with head lice is re-infestation so it’s important not to let your defences down.

  1. Chemical Treatment:  It’s up to you as a parent if you want to put the chemical treatment on your kids heads.  By the time I realised what was going on we were in a bit of a bad way…and we had our summer holidays coming up.  The Nitty Gritty comb is an excellent alternative if you want to avoid chemical use.  ALSO – there are chemical resistant head lice in North America….that is the stuff nightmares are made of!!!
  2. Wash all hair combs and brushes in the top shelf of the dishwasher. It will be hot enough to kill all bugs and hopefully won’t melt brushes.  We did lose one brush melted in the dishwasher. I eventually replaced them all anyway but on a late week night I wasn’t too worried I would re-contaminate chemically treated hair with infested brushes the next morning. It’s really important not to share brushes either.
  3. Single Use Towels for about a week anytime a towel was used on a head in the house it was washed immediately to avoid re-infestation
  4. Hot wash all bed linen and hoover all carpets, bed mattresses and sofas. I totally went bananas with the hoover for about a week.
  5. Tumble dry pillows and cushions for at least 15 minutes HOT to kill any bugs
  6. Place all stuffed animals in a black rubbish bag and tie tightly for 10 days.  This one broke my heart a little bit so the kids picked one small teddy and I through it in the tumble drier for a while and hoped for the best. All the others were bagged and stored.
  7. Keep Combing Everyone was showered and got a good comb-through with The Nitty Gritty comb every single evening for 5-7 days.  After that it was every 2 days for about two weeks- even when we were on our holidays.  I would be totally lying if I said my kids were compliant and didn’t complain about this. In the end they got precious iPad time while they were being combed. Needs must right?!

Honestly this was a time-consuming regime especially with two working parents. I was so thankful for ThisIrishDad patiently combing out my hair at night. I also straightened my hair every day that week with hot straightening iron- – – – I found no concrete evidence in my ‘research’ indicating this had a positive effect on killing head lice or their shells but I did it anyway.

Without a doubt head lice is one of those horrible kid things that most of us will go through.  In hindsight it was more time-consuming than anything.  Considering we didn’t get a rebound infestation I would spend all the time again if I ever have to.

I hate these little suckers…if you have any tips to win the war against head lice let me know in the comments!

**Disclaimer:  There is nothing to disclaim with this post, no compensation was received all products were recommended because we use them in our house.

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