You may feel like nothing can be worse than finding out you or your child has lice, but it is a very common occurrence. Between six and twelve million people get lice each year in the USA.
Lice are tiny parasites that find hair the perfect place to live. They can cause itching, discomfort, and even disease if not treated the right way. You need to get rid of lice fast and for good to keep it from spreading.
If you need to remove lice from your hair, don’t panic! We cover everything you need to know to get rid of lice swiftly in our handy guide.
How Lice Spread
Despite what many people think, lice don’t jump from person to person. The only way it spreads is by direct contact between an infested head and a new host.
Lice infestations happen more often in places with groups of children. Schools and summer camps are common lice infestation areas. Slumber parties or other instances where a child would share a brush, hat, or towel can be breeding grounds for lice.
Types of Lice Medications
The good news is that you can treat lice from the comfort of your own house. Most lice removal treatments include one of three active ingredients. You can choose the formula based on your specific needs.
If the person with lice in your home is over the age of two, they will most often use an over-the-counter treatment. These usually include piperonyl butoxide and pyrethrin.
This treatment comes from ragweed and chrysanthemums. Be careful with this choice if you are allergic to these plants!
Another option is to choose a treatment with permethrin. You can also use this on anyone over the age of two.
If you are looking for a treatment without pesticides in it, go for one with dimethicone. This coats lice and keeps them from surviving in water. Even though there are no pesticides, it is incredibly effective at getting rid of lice.
Prescriptions for Lice
If you can’t get rid of your lice, your doctor can prescribe a prescription treatment. Benzyl alcohol and ivermectin both treat lice in babies aged six months and up.
If you need a stronger product, your doctor may prescribe malathion. This solution can kill lice eggs and the lice itself. You can only use this if you are over the age of six.
Home Remedies for Lice
If you aren’t keen on pesticides, there are some home remedies you can try to get rid of lice. Wet the hair of the person who has lice and use a fine-tooth nit comb to get rid of the nits and eggs. You can also try to suffocate lice by using olive oil and sleeping in a shower cap.
Get Rid of Lice Fast With These Steps
If you or your child finds yourself with lice, it’s confusing to know how to treat it. Treating lice is a process that will take multiple steps. You’ll need to target both the lice on the body and the lice in the house.
Take a Deep Breath
You may think that having a lice infestation is the end of the world, but you can do this! Double-check that it is lice you are dealing with before going through the whole delousing process.
Look at the scalp under a bright light. The nits are usually at the top of the scalp and are small and white. Lice look like tiny grayish-brown bugs.
Once you’ve confirmed it is lice, you’ll want to get a delousing shampoo. The age of those who have lice, skin conditions, and preferences will dictate which formula you choose.
Make sure to read the directions in the lice kit. Some kits have you remove the lice eggs while others do not. Some kits also have you repeating the lice treatment while others are a one-time use.
Remove Knits With a Special Comb
After the delousing shampoo, you’ll want to get rid of any nits or eggs. Most kits come with a special comp with very fine bristles.
When the hair is wet, start at the crown of the head. Work your way down the head until you get to the neck. Repeat this process until you’ve made it around the entire head.
You’ll want to do this every day for a full week. This may seem excessive, but it means you’ll get rid of any leftover eggs.
Tackle the House
Lice removal doesn’t stop at a person’s body. Lice can live on surfaces that come into direct contact with the head.
You’ll want to take any combs, brushes, or hair tools and soak them in very hot water for at least ten minutes. If you can afford to, replacing these items is the best bet to keep them lice-free.
Any hats, scarves, or other clothes that touch the head should get washed in a separate load. Use hot water and high heat when drying everything.
This same principle goes for bedding, pillowcases, and stuffed animals. Consider replacing pillowcases and washing the bedding with hot water.
Finally, vacuum any furniture or carpets. Pay close attention to the areas the people with lice frequented, like their bedroom.
If you can’t wash something, you can still get rid of it! Seal it in a plastic bag for two weeks to kill any lingering lice.
Repeat the Process
You don’t want to get rid of lice from one family member, only to have it sneak up on another. Make sure that everyone in the household gets treated for lice.
Also, make sure to repeat the cleaning, shampooing, and brushing process. This extra step will keep lice from coming back again.
Get Rid of Lice Once and for All
Finding out if you or a loved one has lice can be an alarming experience. Once the shock of having lice wears off, know that lice don’t last forever. Armed with the right knowledge and tools, you can get rid of lice quickly and for good.
Getting lice may mean throwing out some bedding and pillows, leaving you needing to shop for more. Check out our Furniture and Home Decor for inspiration today!