Get Rid of Those Bugs: Battling Lice

by Kay Lynn


One of my most embarrassing moments was when my hairdresser whispered in my ear that I had head lice.  It was 25 years ago and I still shudder thinking about it!

She suggested the carrier was my young son and he was. Sharing your hairbrush with someone with lice is not a good idea.  That wasn’t the first time we battled the little bugs.  I learned that children share hats, combs and bugs.

Once I got over the shock, it was time to treat both of us.

Lice Treatment

If you find head lice on your child, check everyone in the household.  These buggers spread easily.  In addition to treating the head, be sure to wash all clothing, bedding and linens the affected person(s) used in the two days prior to treatment in hot water.  If something isn’t washable, seal it in a plastic bag for two weeks.  Yes it takes that long to starve them.

You should also soak hair accessories in hot water for 10 minutes. Then vacuum the home wherever the child (or you) may have lain such as couches and floors.

There are over the counter treatments for head lice which is what we used.  After the treatment, it’s necessary to go through the hair with a special comb that will get the eggs, called nits, that stick to the hair.  I know, gross!

This always worked for us but if live lice are seen afterwards, seek medical advice.  You don’t want to overdose your child with insecticide.

Alternative Treatment

Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet so I wasn’t able to research alternatives to traditional medicine.  It seems that olive oil and vinegar are good tools for fighting lice.  Instead of putting insecticide shampoo on the head, cover it with olive oil and plastic for two hours.  This smothers the lice.

Then treat the hair with vinegar to kill the nits.  Use a nit comb to remove them from the hair.  You can always try medication if this doesn’t work.

You learn a lot raising kids including that head lice isn’t limited by socio-economic boundaries or just something that happens to other people.  Next time, I might tell you what we learned about ticks.

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shanendoah@the dog ate my wallet November 21, 2011 at 9:34 am

When I was a child, one of our highschool sport teams returned from an away game with lice. Suddenly, our teachers were monitoring to make sure we didn’t trade jackets for recess, and we all had to go sit and have someone search our heads for lice. At the time, I thought lice must cary a life threatening disease, so fanatically did our small community react to it.

Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog November 21, 2011 at 12:58 pm

thats crazy kay lynn – I’ve never had lice before nor have I known anyone who has them (though people who have had it dont tatoo it on their forehead).

Jana @ Daily Money Shot November 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Lice is my nightmare. I literally get itchy just thinking about it. When I went to sleep-away camp, we all had to go through a lice check upon arrival. It was so embarrassing, especially for the kids to supposedly had it.

I think my sister might have had it once. I remember my mom buying over the counter stuff and washing my sister’s hair with this little comb. It was strange and, as a parent, something I hope I never have to do.

Doctor Stock November 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Wow… it’s been a long time since I’ve heard about lice. I remember the health unit coming through as a kid and checking us… crazy!

Jon - Free Money Wisdom November 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm

This definitely did not give me an appetite for the upcoming Thanksgiving meal. Ugh, lice. I’ve never had it, and knock on wood, hopefully never will. I think my favorite part of this post was when you put “Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet…” I laughed.

Kyle Sanderson January 4, 2012 at 6:35 am

I unfortunately had a similar experience when I was younger, it’s never fun getting told that in a packed room of people waiting to have their hair cut but since I had kids and they have had lice I know it’s just one of those things that you have to get on with.

I’ve personally used Vosene Kids on their hair and it seems to have helped; plus they like the smell so it’s a win win for me 🙂

I suppose no matter how old you get, you’re never far away from nits.

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