My child won’t get head lice. Right?
This mom does some research into head lice after the initial shock of seeing them in her son’s hair.
Last night after a haircut, my oldest boy was sitting on my lap before bed time when I decided to check if the rash he had on his scalp had returned or not.  That’s when I found it. It was a small baby one at first and a minute later the Big Mamma Louse!  To tell you the truth, that Mamma Louse, was a lot bigger than I ever expected.

Yes, we got a notice from school that there had been an outbreak of head lice, but I wasn’t worried about it.  I mean, we’re not head lice kind of people, right?  Turns out we are.  What a major shocker that was.  I keep the boys clean, wash their hair myself, mostly so that I know the sand has been properly washed out. I even remember to clean their ears every now and then. But head lice?

Well, when mommy’s faced with a subject she doesn’t know about, she hits Doctor Google, that’s after arranging to go to the pharmacy for head lice shampoo the next day. It turns out the shampoo is not foolproof, and it might be hazardous to the little one’s health.  Yikes.

Of course the moment you admit that your child has head lice, you get the advice and recipes. Everyone has the best method of getting rid of the little buggers. And some of them are down right scary.

Here’s what I found:

Head lice facts
  • Head lice are not a dirty-hair problem, it’s an all-kinds-of-hair problem.
  • They jump right? Wrong, they crawl.  They spread mostly by head-to-head contact, sharing clothing, bed linens, combs, brushes, and hats. Oh, and they can’t fly either.
  • Head lice only survive on human heads, so you can’t get it from your pets.
  • They’ve got six legs with claws that hold on to the hair.
  • The Big Mamma Louse is about the size of a sesame seed, and a clear colour except after they’ve fed on human blood, then they’re a reddish-brown. Or in the case of the one I found, a combination of the two.
  • They live for about 30 days and Big Mamma Louse can lay up to 100 eggs (called nits) in that time.
  • The nits are really small oval shaped eggs glued to the side of the hair shaft at an angle. They can be dark brown to light yellow before they hatch. They hatch 7 to 10 days after being laid. The females start laying eggs 7 to 10 days after hatching.

There are a lot of different treatments available for head lice. The most common are the head lice shampoos that contain a pesticide.  These have strict instructions that you should adhere to.  Now it might just be me, but I feel strangely uncomfortable using a pesticide on my child’s head.

Various alternative shampoos and treatments have now reached the market, claiming natural remedies instead of the pesticide approach.  These are also very expensive and each one claims it’s the only one that can guarantee effective treatment.

These shampoos share one common fact. They advise you that the only way their product will be effective is with the combined use of a special fine toothed comb.

With a bit more research I found this interesting fact: If your child is under the age of 2, manual removal is advised. Use a fine toothed comb on wet conditioned hair every 3 to 4 days for two weeks after the last louse was seen. The water temporarily immobilises the louse and the conditioner makes the combing easier.

After all my research, this mommy is off to the chemist to buy a fine toothed comb.

What was your winning recipe in the fight against head lice?

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