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Hartselle Enquirer

Every parent dreads having to deal with lice

By By Michelle Blaylock, Mom’s Corner
I think it's every parent dread – the phone call or the note from school telling you your child has head lice. I don't know about everyone else, but it just makes me feel dirty. The irony of that is that lice like clean hair!
I had a pediatrician one time describe schools as "festering holes of pestilence." I do believe custodians do the best they can, however, there are still several hundred people in one building and each one of them can host millions of bacteria, viruses, and other "pests." Unfortunately, one of those possible pests is head lice.
Let's start with Head Lice 101. Head lice like clean hair. They are about the size of sesame seeds, have six legs with claws, and feed on human blood. Lice are transferred by close contact like sharing clothing, combs, or hairbrushes. Lice live for about 30 days and a single female louse can lay up to 100 nits (eggs). Nits are kind of oval and are attached to individual hair shafts with a sticky substance kind of like glue. It takes nits about 7 to 10 days to hatch and another 7-10 days to mature then the cycle starts all over again. Ewww!!
I can tell you from experience none of that really matters when you are the one coping with a child or children with head lice.
Let me tell you our lice story. It was several summers ago when we were still foster parents in Kentucky. We already had a 2-year-old, 4-year-old, 6-year-old, 8-year-old, and an 11-year-old. Our social worker called and asked if we could take two more siblings, girls ages 2-years-old and 4-years-old. I kind of cringed because it was summer so all the children were home and that meant I would not have a break at all during the day. (Not to mention, that gave us six girls and one boy!) However, the social worker assured me it would only be for three or four weeks as the paternal grandmother wanted custody and just had to be "cleared" by the department.
John and I agreed. Both of the girls had beautiful waist-length hair. Unfortunately, they were also covered in head lice. By the time I realized it (The girls would not let me brush their hair the first two days.), everyone in the house had been exposed and had to be treated! We tried the "normal" head lice treatments, but we discovered very quickly that my oldest and I were allergic to the pesticides in them!
John started doing some research on head lice and discovered there was more than one way to kill the little pests. There's the pesticides and there is suffocating them with oil. John discovered this stuff the kids nicknamed "stinky-poo" instead of "shampoo." The "recipe" is four ounces of baby shampoo, quarter ounce eucalyptus oil, quarter ounce rosemary oil, one ounce olive oil, quarter ounce tea tree oil. Put all this together in a bottle and shake until mixed. It will look kind of milky.
Work this mixture through dry hair and leave on overnight. I suggest braiding girls hair and covering with a shower cap. I also suggest you use old pillow cases. The next morning begin combing nits out of hair by using a nit comb. When you've done the best you can, wash the hair using a shampoo with coconut oil and check for nits again, and again, and again.
Don't forget you must treat your house even though a louse can only survive for about 24 hours off of its host. John and I found that bug bombs used for fleas also kill lice. You must also wash all your bedding in hot water. Anything you can't wash or dry clean, you need to bag up in dark plastic garbage bags and hide for at least one month. Why? Well, don't forget you want to give plenty of time for nits to hatch and all the lice to die.
If you have any home remedies you would like to share, please feel free to e-mail them to Mom's Corner: moms-corner@juno.com