How to remove lice from hair permanently

Head lice is often passed around the schools from one child to the next. It is a common problem, and does not reflect on the child’s cleanliness or social status. Anyone can get it. However, girls seem to get it more often than boys, simply because they have more hair.

If your child is sent home with head lice, she will need to be nit-free before she can return to school. You will be required to take her to the office for a head check before she can attend classes. Here is what you need to do to get rid of the lice and get your child back to school as quickly as possible.

The first step is to treat the child’s head with lice shampoo. You can get lice shampoo at your local drugstore. Follow the instructions on the bottle.

After shampooing, comb the child’s hair with a nit comb. When her hair is dry, go to a well lit area to remove the nits, or eggs. Sunlight is best, but use bright lamps indoors if it is dark outside.

Nits are tiny and very hard to see, especially if you don’t know what you are looking for. They can be clear, whitish or brown in color. They are oval-shaped and glued tightly to the hair shaft, usually near the scalp. If you can, ask the person who discovered the lice to show you what the nits look like.

You cannot shake or brush nits off. The best way to remove them is to isolate the individual strand of hair and pull it out or cut it off above the nit. You can use your fingernails to slide it off the hair if your prefer.

The only way to make sure you find all of the nits is to go through the child’s hair strand by strand, looking at each hair and removing every nit. This is a long process, but there is no way around it.

However, there is a product out now that makes it easier to see the nits. It is a neon-colored spray that can be found in the same area of the store as the lice shampoo. You spray it on the child’s hair, let it dry, then brush it out. Most of the color will come out of the hair, but the nits will remain brightly colored.

After checking for nits, saturate your child’s hair with olive oil. When left in the hair for at least three to five hours, it will smother any lice that may have survived the shampoo. This is important since some lice are becoming resistant to the pesticides in the shampoo. I recommend leaving the oil in overnight.

Now that your child is treated, you must treat your house. Wash the coats and bedding in hot water. Hair accessories, brushes and combs should be boiled in hot water or put in a plastic bag in the freezer for two weeks. Stuffed animals should also be washed in hot water or placed in plastic bags for two weeks. All carpeted areas and upholstered furniture should be vacuumed, including the seats in your car.

Continue checking for nits every day and repeat the oil treatment every two to three days until at least a week after the last nit is found. Nits are hard to see, so it is important to keep checking to make sure you got all of them. If you do miss any and they hatch, the oil treatments will smother the newly hatched lice before they are big enough to lay eggs of their own.

If you follow these steps, you should be able to get rid of the lice quickly, and get your child back in school.

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