Most people with children will encounter and infestation of head lice at some point. Some even encounter them on a regular basis. They are nasty little mites that are difficult to banish.
First it's handy to know about the life cycle of head lice.
The females lay eggs, nits, close to the scalp and these take 9-10 days to hatch. 12 days later these baby lice become adults and can start laying eggs themselves. When you get rid of an infestation, by whatever means, if there are any lice or eggs left another infestation will begin again. Empty egg cases remain attached to the hair but will move slowly along the length of the hair.
Head lice travel from head to head with close contact, this why they spread around schools. They can't jump or fly, but do crawl really fast.
They have no preference to clean or dirty hair, boys or girls, or if hair is short or long, although, obviously it's a little harder to get rid of them from longer hair.
Preventing Head Lice
- Checking regularly is a necessity. It's best to use a nit comb for this and should be done straight after washing the hair and it is still damp or wet.
- Conditioner helps the nit comb to glide through the hair, and also makes it easier to remove the lice and eggs.
- All family members need to be checked for head lice as they will easily spread among family members. (this means adults too)
- Having long hair tied up can help the spread of head lice, but is not fail proof.
- Some people believe the use of hair products such as hair wax and hair spray helps prevent head lice. I have no personal experience of this so I don't know if it works or not.
- It is believed that head lice do not like Tea Tree Oil and you can buy shampoos and conditioners that contain this which may help. I have used Tea Tree Oil essential oil added to the final rinse water in the past on an older child and this seemed to work.
- You can buy specialised head lice combs, like the Nitty Gritty comb which are believed to be more effective at removing lice and eggs.
Getting Rid of an Head Lice Infestation
When you find head lice it's important to treat the whole family.
There are two main ways of treating;
1. Wash hair and cover with conditioner. Using a nit comb remove as many head lice as possible before rinsing out the conditioner. Use the comb again before the hair is dry, wiping it between each comb through on a cloth or piece of kitchen towel. Repeat this at least 3 times in the next 14 days and providing you do a good job of getting the lice out you should get rid of them.
2. Use a head lice preparation to kill the lice.
There are many available to choose from, some are pesticides some kill the lice by suffocation. If your child has a medical condition such as asthma it's best to consult your GP first so you know which one to use.
I was given a bottle of Linicin lotion to try.
In the box you get a 15ml bottle of lotion, a metal nit comb and an information leaflet. The bottle is enough for two treatments on shoulder length hair.
My daughter has quite thick hair but I still managed to completely saturate it with only half of the bottle. The liquid goes on easily and leaves a coat along the hair. There is no strong smell, although it is obvious that the hair is coated. I put a towel around her shoulders to catch any drips but found that I made no mess anyway.
I left the lotion on for the recommended 15 minutes and then put the shampoo directly on the hair. I added some water to lather up the shampoo and then rinsed it out. I applied shampoo and washed the hair again. After the treatment I combed through the hair and found that almost all of the head lice that came out were dead. They are much easier to remove when dead than alive. When her hair dried it still looked greasy but not too bad when tied up. After a further wash the next day the greasiness was gone. I kept checking her hair regularly and after 9 days I found a few tiny head lice so I used the rest of the lotion exactly as before.
I found Linicin easy to use and liked that it didn't have a strong odour. Although it was quite difficult to wash out, it didn't leave the hair looking lank and dull like some other lotions do. In fact I found my daughter's hair had a nice shine to it after treatment. As expected there were a few baby head lice (nymphs) which managed to survive in their eggs during the first treatment, but I actually only counted 5 so I was quite pleased with that. After the second treatment I feel confident that the cycle has been broken and now it is time to try and prevent another infestation.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions contained in this post are entirely my own. I was sent a bottle of Linicin Lotion and a bottle of Linicin Prevention Spray to test for the review. I have not received any other payment.