- Advice & Education
- Community Support
- International Family Equality
- Legal & Financial
- News & Politics
- Travel & Vacations
“I don’t have lice because I’m not itchy.” This is a common statement that parents tell me when they bring their kids into my Lice Treatment Center located in Oceanside, NY. We advise that all family members get checked because sometimes you DON’T itch! Eight out of ten mothers are treated for lice along with their kids. Why do some people itch while others have no sign of lice? The itching is actually an allergic reaction to the louses saliva. Much like when you itch from a mosquito bite.
If you are not itchy how do you know you have lice? Communication is the answer. If your child has lice you should inform the school and all people you were in contact with so they can get checked. That is the first indication that you might have lice. When someone you are close with tells you they have lice, you should get checked immediately.
To confirm a case of lice you have to find a louse or a nit. The nits are much easier to find than the live louse. Lice are incredibly fast and they camouflage themselves so they are very difficult to find. Nits are the tiny eggs glued to the hair. They are always tear-dropped shaped and are on one side of the hair strand. If you find something and it easily flakes off or can be moved up and down the hair strand easily, it is not a nit.
To check for nits you need good lighting. Hold long hair up in a ponytail and look at the nape of the neck. Take small sections of hair out of the ponytail and check each section. If the case is not severe it might be challenging to find a nit. It has been proven that the best way to check for nits is to actually use a good nit comb. Put a lot of conditioner in the hair, use a detangling comb first to take out any tangles. Then run the nit come through the hair, grazing the scalp lightly and combing through to the end of the hair. Then wipe the conditioner from the nit comb onto a paper towel. If you have lice, you will see small tear-dropped specks in the conditioner smear. Once you verify that there is a lice infestation, you will go on to the lice removal part of the procedure.
There are 3 ways to kill lice. The first way is by using toxic chemicals are like Rid and Nix that you can buy at the local pharmacy. There is also Ovide, a highly toxic lice killer that you need a prescription for. It has been proven that lice have evolved and have become resistant to these chemicals. We get a lot of clients who used these products before coming to us. During our treatment, we would still find live lice. Therefore, there’s no need to use a chemical such as the ones I just mentioned. There is NOTHING that can kill a nit anyway. After using a toxic chemical, you still need to manually remove all nits. If you do not, you will have another lice infestation in a couple of weeks.
The second way to kill lice is by using a home remedy. Olive oil is the most popular. It works fine in killing the lice, but again, does NOTHING for the nits. It kills by suffocating the lice. Lice need to be submerged for at least 8 hours in order for them to die. This means that the olive oil must be put on your scalp and covered with a shower cap for at least 8 hours. This must be done throughout the next 3 weeks. The only way to remove olive oil is to use a little dishwashing detergent.
The quickest, safest, most efficient way to kill lice is with a natural enzyme. You put the enzyme on your scalp and cover with a shower cap for only 20 minutes. Even though the enzyme doesn’t kill nits, it will loosen the nit glue making the comb out much quicker and easier.
After the initial treatment, it is advised to use a non toxic enzyme based shampoo everyday for the next 2 weeks. You leave the shampoo in for 10 minutes and before rinsing, you use the nit comb. This is much quicker and neater than using olive oil for 3 weeks.
The rule of thumb is that you cannot say you are lice free until 2 weeks pass and you have not combed any nits or lice out.
Keep in mind that after the first treatment, you are NOT contagious anymore but you might have nits that need to be combed out before they hatch. Once a nit hatches, it is called a nymph. The nymphs go through 3 stages before becoming an adult. At day 5, the nymph is in its 3rd stage. This is when you are contagious. Before this point, the nymphs are too young and weak to crawl off your head. At day 7, the louse is now an adult and will start mating and laying 6-8 nits every day.
After the 2 weeks are over and you are lice free, you want to remain that way. Mint is a natural lice repellant. This means in laboratory testing, when a louse comes in contact with something mint scented, it literally will turn around and walk away. It does help. But it is not 100%. If the only head available and wearing mint spray, the louse will have no choice but to go there.
In addition to using mint spray, the best thing to do is to use a nit comb once a week, every week. Make it part of your grooming. Just like flossing every day, you should use a nit comb every week. This would prevent a lice infestation from ever occurring. You would comb out any lice before it had the chance to lay nits and multiply.