lice!! superlice!! eeeew!!!
Spoiler alert! This post is about lice, which are gross. As a mother of 4, I have indeed encountered many very gross things, but few are more gross than lice. One thing more gross than lice though, is the over the counter neurotoxic chemical lice treatments that are sold in most pharmacies. If you are a sensitive person like I am, (or maybe like any child whose neurological system is still developing) and have had lice a time or two, you know, that the way you feel after using that stuff is something to be avoided. Also, it is all over the internet, that there are now resistant lice or superlice. This new type of, um, louse, is not killed by the usual run of the mill neurotoxin. Oh, no this one is stronger.
So we have two choices, we use stronger chemicals and re-enact the arms race in an effort to kill the critters, or we go the old fashioned route.
“This hippy crunchy yoga kale muncher AP mom wants me to just leave my kids’ hair full of bugs in the name of organic world granola balance?” You exclaim?!.
Well my answer to you, is “Hell no! Get rid of those nasty bugs and do it quick!”
With all this resistant lice appearing, it is good to know that the natural or “alternative” treatments for lice, are still equally effective on these new lice, because they rely mostly on physical, mechanical methods rather than attempting the standard strategy of poisoning the bugs to death.
Sometimes being a crunchy hippy mom, you get to say “I told you so, and then give some very useful advice. When these times come, forgive me, but I enjoy it. And today, you too will benefit from my eat more kale t-shirt wearingness.
Here is my highly effective lice treatment strategy that I have developed over my years of formal biology focused education, many hours of internet searching, consulting with experts and then personal experience.
What you will need:
1 Time and patience, there is no way around this. Perhaps a good book or device of some sort to keep your child distracted and not moving.
2 A good lice comb, and you need to use it alot. Here is a link to the one I have found effective. The regular store ones don’t work, I don’t know why they sell them.
2 Apple cider vinegar (ACV from here on). No, I am not a no poo, just wash your hair with ACV advocate, but it does kill lice and possibly the eggs, so it is a useful tool in this situation.
3 In the case of long hair, you need a good silky conditioner to help with combing without pulling.
4 Crisco. Yup, I said Crisco, not coconut oil or mango butter or salve or colostrum. Crisco. *This is the only time I will ever recommend this product for any use ever. It works because it stays put, doesn’t drip around like every other butter I have ever tried, and is thick enough to suffocate the buggers.
5 Dish soap.
6 A head covering you can sleep in and don’t care if it gets ruined. A thick cotton beret, a shower cap, whatever.
7 A pillow case in the same category. It could get Crisco stains on it.
Ok, here is what to do.
1 Check for lice/eggs. Even if I just see little red bumps around the base of the neck or around the ears or the crown of the head, I do a treatment. Why wait till it gets really bad.
2 Wash bedding. I like to put the pillows just in the dryer, the washer ruins them.
3 Soak brushes in ACV. Remember, the dryer heat is what really kills them.
3 Wet hair, saturate in ACV, let sit for about 10 minutes, but even just a few minutes can do the job. Depending on the kids and their, um, compliance level, leave it in as long as you can. Do NOT let it get in their eyes. It hurts very badly. Rinse out.
4 Saturate in conditioner and use the lice comb. Start from one side and go all the way across the head. Make sure you get all peripheral areas like behind ears and base of neck. Rinse out.
5 Blow dry air.
6 Saturate hair in Crisco, paying special attention to the roots. Think hair dye. Thats how thorough it should be in the hair. Saturated. Put hair in a hair band or rubber band or something to keep it up. Cover hair. Leave on overnight and as long as possible after that. Wash it out. Our shampoo hasn’t been strong enough, we have had to use dish soap.
7 Comb thoroughly with lice comb, I like to use salve to help get the comb through (see #8)
8 I like to rub some of my All Purpose Salve into the roots before combing and then put the hair up into a tight braid for the day. I use do this for two reasons. Firstly, lice like clean and not oily hair, it is easier to bind eggs to so keeping roots oiled is a good idea. Second, because this salve has essential oils rosemary, tea tree, and cedar leaf that lice don’t like. You can really use any solid oil at room temperature oil with these essential oils though. Using a liquid oil is too irritating and causes the kids to scratch. This is not what we want. When there is broken skin, there is risk of infection so itching is the enemy. Also, the ACV can sting broken skin.
After this treatment, I comb daily for a week with conditioner. Twice daily if possible.
I also repeat this treatment a week later, and depending how grossed out I am, possibly two weeks later.
I also change pillow cases a lot more often, and soak brushes in ACV weekly.
Even after you treat effectively, sometimes irritation and itchiness can persist to a few days while the scalp heals. Sometimes it is worth asking a school nurse or doing a google search to find a professional lice checker with a magnifier and a good light to confirm that you got them all. I found one locally who charged $15 to just do a good check.
p.s. When ever I hear that lice is going around, which it tends to do about twice a year, I salve or oil my kids hair, and keep it up. I also just comb weekly with conditioner during these times, as a preventative.
There, that wasn’t so bad was it? Ok fine, it was. What can I say, lice are gross and horrible, but as least your kids’ neurons and synapses are unharmed and your home is now nit free. Congratulations and your welcome.