Parents and caregivers are always in fear of the dreaded email that comes out within the first few weeks of being back to school… “someone in your child’s class has been diagnosed with head lice”. Is there anything more stressful than the thought of a parasite infesting your little angel’s head?! Aside from it actually happening, the paranoia sets in pretty quickly once you hear the word Lice. You feel itchy, you feel a crawling sensation, and you’re sure that you’ve got some unwanted guests!
Being in the Lice business for close to a decade at this point, and after helping thousands of families, I’d like to share some helpful info and give you parents a survival guide of sorts to help ease, fear, anxiety, and to debunk some common myths!
Common myths about head lice:
- Lice are spread environmentally. THIS is a big one and I’m happy to inform you that lice are not an environmental issue. This means that sharing cubbies, sitting at the rug during circle time, bus seats, and all of the other school related worries that come up are not of concern! Lice are primarily spread through direct hair to hair contact. Being a parasite, lice NEED a host to survive so they will never willingly move on to a random surface like a rug or coat.
- Lice comes from the school.. you guessed it, the answer is no, kind of. Lice come from wherever children are gathering to be more exact, meaning that it’s more easily spread when groups of kids are together because they are in close contact and most likely rubbing heads without a thought in the world. This could be at school, sports, birthday parties, daycare- you get the idea! While lice CAN spread in schools, it can also spread in many other places, so we always say that it’s important to support the school nurses in their efforts and work as a team when lice is discovered (notify school, parents, etc.)
- Eggs are not active lice. This one kills me every time. Wether a person has eggs (nits) or live bugs crawling, they have lice. The eggs didn’t lay themselves and while you may not see a bug scurrying away during you head check, they’re there!
- Lice can jump and fly. This one is a big NO! Trust me, I’d be a millionaire if lice could jump and fly. Luckily, lice don’t have the ability to jump and they are wingless. They can only move via their 6 claws. This helps them be super mobile while in the hair, but not so mobile on any other surface.
- Poor hygiene causes lice. No again! Lice actually prefer clean hair. So don’t be embarrassed if your child gets a case of lice. Oddly enough, it’s a sign of cleanliness. Lice are not attracted to greasy, dirty hair. *this isn’t an invitation to stop washing your hair 😂
Now that I’ve debunked some popular myths about lice, let’s cover what we can do to prevent and treat it if you ever find yourself in a lice filled situation:
The best form of lice prevention will always be keeping hair pulled back tightly. There are preventative sprays and essential oils out there that will help deter lice (mint, tea tree), but they aren’t 100% and are equivalent to wearing bug spray in the woods. If you’re in a situation where you know there is lice around, we recommend doing a weekly preventative oil treatment with our NitBLOCK clinical grade oil treatment that is proven to stop lice in its tracks. This oil is so effective that if we had a client with uncombable hair (extensions or dreadlocks), we would prescribe an oil regimen to ensure that they were free of active lice.
Another way to prevent lice from spreading is to do a quick monthly check on your child. While we don’t want to cause anyone to stress about lice, noticing it sooner rather than later could potentially lessen the blow of an infestation and keep it from spreading to all household members. To check for lice, have your child sit in a well lit area and check small sections starting from the nape and moving all the way to the forehead. If you have a nit comb on hand feel free to run that through as well. If you see a bug or a tear drop shaped, brown egg stuck to the hair, you know further action is needed.
SO, what if I actually find lice in my child’s hair?!
First of all, DON’T panic! Lice are super common and while they’re a nuisance, they won’t make you sick or cause any real medical issues. There are treatment options out there and people to help!
If professional treatment is the path for you, we’re here with same day appointments (usually) and we can get you lice free and back to life as usual within an hour or less in most typical cases. We manually remove all lice and eggs from the hair and finish with our clinical grade oil treatment that proven to kill lice. We guarantee our services and offer peace of mind to the families we work with.
If you are more of a DIY mama (respect to you!), the good news is that you CAN get your family lice free, but you will have to put in work!
One of the most common issues we see when working with families who have attempted home treatment is that they fail to thoroughly check the whole household. Normally with Lice it’s about 2 to 3 weeks before there’s enough in the hair that it becomes symptomatic or that you would notice it candidly. In that time it spreads very easily between household members. It is highly likely that more than one person, if not all, who live with you have head lice. This means that while you are diligently treating your child, they could just be catching it right back from you, or anybody else in the home. Step one- CHECK EVERYONE
The second most common mistake that people make is using over-the-counter lice treatment products that are pesticide-based. Firstly, there are tons of scientific studies, proving that lice have become completely resistant to pesticide-based treatments. In simpler terms, they simply just don’t work anymore! The only products that you need for at home treatment are a Terminator Nit Comb and a clinical grade oil treatment (shameless shout out for our NitBLOCK line😜). To home treat, you’ve got to oil every 3 days and comb every positive household member daily for 10-14 days. Like I said, put in the work. Unfortunately if you aren’t professionally trained, lice treatment is labor intensive. It can be done, but you’ve got to stay dedicated. We are always to help our DIY clients as well!
that sums up my lice back to school PSA! I hope that this is a helpful guide for parents who may be nervous, and for those of you who had no idea about lice and how to deal with it! As always, we’re here to help!
Call or text 978-907-3245
peace, love, lice ❤️