School is starting around the country. It is upon us, the begining of homework, football, early mornings and trying to find family time. The last thing any parent wants to deal with is... (drum roll) ... Lice! But with more school districts letting children with lice stay in classroom it is becoming more of a reality then ever before.
What are Lice?
A louse is a wingless, bloodsucking parasite. To survive they need to be near human skin. They have 3 stages nit, nymph and adult. During the nit stage they can live 10 days without a human host, during the nymph stages they will die within hours of being away from a human skin. An adult louse will live for a couple of days.
How to Check for Lice
The best way to tell you how to check for lice is with these two great YouTube Videos.
What do Lice look like?
OH NO I have BUGS!
Okay, so the letter came home or you did the lice check and found that OH NO! They have arrived in your home. What next? Don't panic... Lice does not mean you are dirty. However, the cleaner your home and environment the easier defeating these little parasites become, but don't lose faith even if you are a little messy we can win the battle! There are tons of products on the market for killing lice, but the truth is it’s a long battle.First, as much as you will hate doing this head to your local drug store and pick up an over the counter lice removal medication or call your trusted hair stylist they often have access to stuff that isn't always found over the counter. You could also check with your doctor they might have one they have had success with in their practice. I recommend Fairy Tale because I’ve seen it work for clients. FOLLOWING directions and be ready to reapply because I’ve never seen any product finish the job in just one application.
You will need a small nit comb. If after the treatment, as you are going through the hair, lice, are not dead or at least moving slower then these lice could be resistant to the product you are using. Contact your local health department or doctor for some other recommendations.You will need to continue to use the comb checking for lice and nits every couple of days for around three weeks to be sure you have killed all the nits and lice. You will need to read the directions to see if you will need to retreat with the product.Because this can take a lot out of hair as a hair stylist, I recommend when you are licefreee you do a deep moisture conditioning treatment. You might be frazzled, but so is your hair.
Some advice from the Hair Fairies (they have locations nationwide that specialize in helping you with your lice problem.)
Use proven, manual head lice removal methods and all-natural products.
Daily wash only the clothing, bedding, brushes, and hair accessories used during your head lice infestation.
Screen your entire household as soon as one child has head lice.
Tell your school and friends you have head lice to avoid cross-pollination. Spread the word, not the lice!
Relax and take a deep breath!
Don’t replace your furnishings (including your mattress).
Don’t wash your entire wardrobe.
Don’t use toxic products or ineffective home remedies for head lice. Some over-the-counter shampoos can be highly toxic (especially for kids), yet many strains of lice are immune to the chemicals.
Don’t cut your hair or pour olive oil, mayonnaise, Listerine, tea tree oil, vinegar, Vaseline, or gasoline on it — these methods don’t work. Some are dangerous; others are better used as a preventative measure or in tandem with a lice comb.
I need professional help
Can't handle the lice problem alone seriously check and see if you have a lice center in your area. Your regular stylist has rules and regulations that only allow us to recommend products or treatment plans. Bringing in someone with lice to a salon can close the whole salon down for a a time as the salon must then do everything possible to protect their other clients from getting lice. Please if you know your child or you have lice be kind and let us try to help you, but we can't cut, shampoo or pull out nits for you.
Treating your home
Top to bottom house cleaning for lice *Start by stripping all the beds and pillow cases through the house and machine wash using hot water and high heat setting on your dryer. *Soak combs and brushes in boiling hot water for around 10 minutes. *Vacuum floor, furniture, wash any dirty clothes recently worn by the infested person don’t forget their coats and hats. *Put things such as stuffed animals, and uncased pillows into a sealed plastic bag for two weeks.
Lice Free? Let's talk about staying that way!
We all know we have to teach our kids, the following things.
Don't share things that touch your hair: comb, hat, jacket, ponytail holders.
Don't touch heads
Keep your personal belongs seperate from others.
But with students no longer being sent home for lice this honestly is not enough. We need to be proactive in regular lice checks at home, preventive measures such as lice prevention OTC products
There is a ton of advice on staying lice free for the school year. Although, no method or product is going to be 100% if the lice in the classroom or home is not undercheck there are some ways to greatly reduce your risk. My personal favorite comes from a line called Glop & Glam. First the smell is AMAZING! Next, they have 3 products I feel really make the difference. Their shampoo, conditioner and detangler. The detangler is the product I love the most and recommend for teachers as well as student. It helps protect the hair for up to 8 hours. But is Glop and Glam the only answer to lice? I personally tell my clients braids are healthier for the hair then buns or ponytails. Pony tails of course run free and so in reality offer little to no actual barrier. I also suggest using hair gel or hairspray. Don't wait for the letter from the school do weekly head checks to be sure and even after a bath or shower do a quick glance. Lice tend to like to hide at the nape and behind the ears.