Monday, February 18, 2013

tips on how to contain a lice outbreak + a natural lice treatment

this past weekend we had a lice scare. bry's bff stayed the night friday night and naturally was all over our house. sitting on our couch, lounging in our chair, trying on bry's clothes/hairties/headbands, sleeping in her bed... 

she goes home, we go about our day, then i get a text, 'she got out of the shower and was itching her head so i checked her and she has lice.... thought i should let you know! im so sorry!'


i had lice a couple times when i was a kid, even once in high school! how embarrassing is that? sheesh! i remember my mom combing my hair after putting this crazy chemical shampoo in it and seeing all of those little bugs in the comb after each stroke. i remember her putting all of my stuffed animals into plastic bags and storing them in my closet. i remember her boiling my brushes and throwing away hair ties. it was crazy! days, weeks of checking heads and making sure it didn't spread. so when i got that text i freaked the freak out. 

as soon as the wolf and bry got back from grocery shopping i immediately did all the things i remembered my mom doing when it had hit our home. it is a crazy process, but it can be handled and done in no time with these easy tips:

bag everything

the first thing you're going to want to do if you have a lice breakout in your home is to bag everything. stuffed animals, throw pillows, blankets {you could also wash blankets and pillows, but we have so many that i washed what we needed and bagged the rest}, and anything else that can't be washed but has been exposed to live. make sure that you let all of the air out of the bag and tie it up real tight in a knot; this will suffocate them. place them in the guest bedroom, hall closet, garage, attic... somewhere that won't allow for re-exposure. we put our in the garage in the corner away from everything.

wash everything

strip all beds and gather up all dirty clothes from the whole week prior and wash. remember the bath mats too! you may have just discovered the lice, but they could have been there days before; you just don't know. and since lice can live up to 48 hours with out a host, you do not want to put on yesterdays shirt! wash what you can in hot water on a long cycle, the rest in warm. dry everything on high heat. you can also do this with the things you cannot wash if you don't want to bag them. leave it all in your laundry room until you:

vacuum everything

bust out your vacuum and go to town. vacuum every single room in your house. even if you or your child was not rolling around on the floor, one little guy could have jumped off on to your floor and then jump back on to you. im not even kidding! vacuum your couches, chairs, anything that is upholstered. this may seem extreme, but you do not want another outbreak! vacuum your mattresses too! even though lice cannot live very long once they have jumped off of you, you do not want to take your chances.

check everyone

if one person has it, someone else might too. you're going to want to check everyone's head for lice. the best way to do this is to be in a place where there is a lot of natural light and use a comb. section out their hair and check the entire head especially at the nape of the neck, hairline, and behind the ears. you're going to want to check for super teeny tiny bugs that are brownish/tan in color. you will know it is lice because it will be jumping around... no joke. you might go 'oh what if that's dandruff?' does dandruff jump around on your scalp? no. if there is one, there is dozens more so picking off that one will not do the trick. if you find some {or even if you don't} do not, i repeat DO NOT touch your head! wash your hands immediately! 

treat it

this is the most important step in containing and ridding of a head lice outbreak since lice can only live on a host! there are several ways to treat lice. you can buy kits at any supermarket or convenience store or you can make your own at home. here is a simple recipe to treat lice naturally and without pesticides:

-mayo, olive oil, or a very heavy conditioner
-lice comb
-one bottle of shampoo, dye and fragrance free if possible
-one bottle of tee tree oil, coconut oil or cedar oil

coat hair in mayo, olive oil or conditioner. doing this suffocates the lice and traps them so they can't go anywhere. in sections, comb out the lice making sure to rinse after each combing. once you have gone over everyones whole head you can prevent lice from using you as a host again by making a lice treatment shampoo. 
take off cap of shampoo bottle and use two drops of essential oil for every one ounce of shampoo. replace cap and shake. use every few days for up to four weeks after outbreak. it is best to not wash your hair daily as lice prefer a clean scalp. keeping your hair more oily will help prevent them from staying on your head. it is best to have everyone do this, even if you didn't find anything on them when checking.

if you follow these steps you can stop the outbreak and get rid of the head lice. here are some preventative tips to ward off lice in the future {these are not fool proof! this will not guarantee that another outbreak wont happen, but they help!}:

-do not share brushes, hair accessories, hats, helmets, scarves, towels or clothing with anyone. we all teach our children to share, but this is one area you do not want them to share in.

-no head to head contact with other children

-after an outbreak it is best to throw everything into the dryer that you didn't bag {pillows, etc} on high heat for two-three weeks every other day or so
-check everyones head daily after an outbreak for up to two weeks

-boil brushes, combs or place in dishwasher on a hot water/hot air dry cycle daily for up to two weeks {or more}
-do not lie on or carpets, bedding, pillows, or stuffed animals that someone with head lice has recently used. though lice can only live up to 48 hours off of a host, you do not want to take any chances.

luckily, no one has lice so far. but that doesn't mean we can't get it so we are taking every precaution to make sure we don't. and i probably wont let bry's bff come back over for two weeks after her mom lets me know she has been treated. i do not want to go through this again! what a pain in the ass. 
now i feel sorry for my parents who had to deal with this a few times. 

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  1. Im your new follower from the blog hop

  2. ahhh, i'm itchy reading this!! no joke.

  3. Newest follower here! Found you on the blog hop. I look forward to reading more!
    -Melanie @

  4. This is a very good post to bookmark as I have too little ones. Thank you for sharing. Your newest follower via hop.

    Vickie @