Ahhhh… Spring has sprung! The flowers are blooming, the butterflies are fluttering, the birds are chirping and the lice is creepy crawling…ewww! Seriously, the outbreaks come and go within schools, day care, play groups, preschool, etc. and it can mean disaster alert for your home. Breezy Mama spoke to Risa Barash — Co-owner of Fairy Tales Hair Care and creator of the Rosemary Repel Lice Prevention hair products — for tips for avoiding catching lice, the best approach if your child gets it and the steps to take to sterilize your home.
The second a notice is sent home from school that there has been a lice outbreak– whether it be preschool through high school – what immediate precautions can parents take to avoid having their child catch it?
First thing a parent must do when they get the note home from school is try not to panic and then do a thorough head check. By the time that note comes home, there is usually never just one case! Check the hot spots – behind the ears, back of neck, part lines. Look for tiny specks glued on an angle about 1-1/4 inches from the top of the head. These are nits (eggs). Then the parent should begin using preventative products such as Fairy Tales’ Rosemary Repel hair care products (click here to purchase). They are infused with organic herbs of rosemary and citronella oils which have been proven to help repel head lice in the only independent study ever conducted.
Parents should keep girls’ hair up in a ponytail or bun and do not shampoo every day as lice like clean hair not dirty. It’s easier to attach to a clean hair shaft as opposed to a dirty one.
How do you know if your child has it? What should parents look for?
If your child has an active case of head lice, he/she will most likely be itching their head. Lice like the warmth of the scalp so the nape of the neck and behind the ears is usually where they begin to lay their eggs. Nits look like tiny sesame seeds and they will be nearly impossible to remove. If you think it is dandruff, try blowing the speck off the hair shaft – if it doesn’t move, it’s a nit! When you part the hair during a head check, live lice will scatter and this is much more visible to the naked eye.
If a child has lice, parents need to take a deep breath and understand that removing the infestation and keeping it away is a 2 week process. With live bugs, all bedding must be washed in hot water and dried on the highest setting each day – but only until all the live bugs are removed – nits do not require this as they are not alive – yet! This is why combing with a good nit comb for 2 weeks is so important. The life cycle of a louse is usually 10-14 days. Wiping down surfaces and vacuuming is also a must but again, only if live louse are seen (don’t forget car seats). They can live off the human head for only about 24-36 hours. A natural product such as Lice Good-Bye (click here to purchase) is the next generation in lice removal because unlike Rid or Nix, it gets rid of the lice and the eggs – these older products only kill lice with pesticides. Studies have shown that the new “super lice” are immune to the ingredients in them as well. Using natural enzymes, the nit “glue” and the adult louse is dissolved. Now you need a good metal comb to remove any remaining nits. Studies have shown that the Terminator Comb (click here to purchase) removes more nits and live bugs than any other on the market. It is stainless steel and the teeth are so close together and grooved that they catch everything!
What do you to your home to rid it of lice?
Because a lice can’t live off the head for more than 24-36 hours parents shouldn’t get caught up in any chemical treatments for the home. As we said, wiping down surfaces and vacuuming will remove any live bugs that can re-infest and a nit needs the warmth of the scalp to hatch so if they are not on the head they are not viable and will not hatch. Head to head contact is the most common way for lice to spread, so these quick and easy things are more than enough to keep the house lice free. Parents have been told to bag stuffed animals for weeks – a few days is fine – remember, the lice can’t live without us.
Any suggestions for helping the parents and siblings not get it once a child in the home comes home with it?
To keep the rest of the family lice free, begin using preventative products immediately and do nightly head checks. Remember, the life cycle of a louse is 10-14 days – that is why we recommend going thru the hair nightly for 2 weeks! One nit left behind can hatch and re-infest the child.
Any other advice?
Fairy Tales Hair Care created Rosemary Repel lice prevention products in 1999. Studies have shown that rosemary and citronella are the most effective ingredients to repel lice. Using the shampoo and crème conditioner every few days and the Rosemary Repel Leave-in Conditioning Spray each morning before school, camp or daycare is all that is needed to keep children lice free all year long.
One last bit of advice, don’t be embarrassed to tell your school nurse or any parents your children have been in contact with. Communication is the best way to keep outbreaks to a minimum. If we catch it in the early stages, lice will not spread throughout a classroom because parents are on the lookout for it and it allows everyone to be proactive instead of reactive.
Breezy Note: The Fairy Tale Hair Care line actually smells nice and was the first product many moms dashed for when our elementary school recently had an outbreak. To purchase any of the items, click here.
For more information on lice, lice prevention and the Rosemary Repel system, visit www.fairytaleshaircare.com.
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