Natural Ways To Prevent Head Lice
With the children now being back at school, the likelihood is that the dreaded head lice and nits will be doing the rounds at some point. Unfortunately, both head lice and nits are incredibly common in young children. A common misconception is that they are attracted to dirty hair, but this is actually far from the truth. They are commonly picked up from head to head contact, which is why they spread so easily around schools.
One of the only ways that you can tell for sure if your child has head lice or nits is to physically find them in their hair. Although they might be scratching, and mention that it feels as though something is moving in their hair. To check for head lice and nits, comb their hair with a detection comb, which can be picked up from most pharmacies.
Sadly, although there are natural ways to treat the head lice and nits, there is nothing that you can do to prevent the spread of them. If your child is old enough, you can advise them not to get their heads to close to others; however, this is often an impossible task. There is no need for your child to be kept off school; however, it is advisable to try and use one of the following remedies to treat the problem sooner rather than later.
Avoid washing your child’s hair too often
As we’ve said, it is a common myth that head lice are drawn to dirty hair, and it is a reflection of your hygiene if you are to get them. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
Head lice are actually more drawn to clean hair, so whilst you might think that you are helping by repeatedly washing your child’s hair, it could actually be making the situation worse. Research has suggested head lice actually avoid the natural oils in the hair, so once treated, try and reduce their hair wash to once a week, to help prevent further infestations.
Advise your child not to share hair accessories
Or anything that goes on their head for that matter, which includes hats. Lice are spread by head to head contact, so if there is someone at school with head lice, who then shares something that touches their head, they will likely spread head lice to the other child.
Unfortunately, children love to share, so this is not always easy to instil into them. Try and teach your children that their hats and hair accessories are theirs and theirs alone, especially if a case of head lice has been confirmed in their class.
Add tea tree oil to their shampoo
Tea tree is a natural insecticide and is really good at preventing head lice from latching on to their hair. It is a good prevention technique.
Although there are some specific tea tree shampoos which you can use, you can simply add a few drops of tea tree oil into their own shampoo for the same effect.
Keep your child’s hair up if it is longer
If your child has long hair, keeping it tied back for school is one of the most effective ways of preventing head lice. Some schools actually have rules surrounding your child’s hair, and many request that it is up and out of the way for safety reasons, but in reality, it can actually help to prevent the lice from being able to cling on to your child’s hair.
The best styles are ponytails or plaits.
Use some rosemary
Using some rosemary hairspray is another excellent way of keeping head lice and nits at bay. Many detangling sprays will have rosemary in them, so if you can locate one, try and integrate this into your child’s haircare routine.
For even more protection, look for a spray that contains both rosemary and tea tree, which will both act as a natural repellent. Simply spray this onto their hair before school or nursery every day, especially if you know that head lice are doing the rounds.
Use a nit comb
This is a particularly tedious and laborious way of removing head lice and nits, but if you want to avoid using harsh chemicals, this is one of the most effective ways of removing them.
A nit comb is a special, short-toothed comb, that can thoroughly pull through the hair, and remove any nits and head lice as you do. Move your child’s hair into different sections, and comb through each part thoroughly. The head lice will not be able to survive for long when they are no longer attached to their hair and their scalp, so by removing them is a great way of killing them off.
Use castor oil or olive oil
Both oils mentioned are excellent ways of removing head lice and nits from your child’s hair.
Regardless of the oil that you choose, apply it directly to the hair, before leaving it on for an hour. Once the time is up, comb through thoroughly with a nit comb, before rinsing and washing their hair as normal.
The oil will suffocate the head lice, and they will simply slip off of the hair, which in turn will make them much easier to remove.
Try and clean everything
Although there is no need to wash everything on a hot wash to kill any infestation, you should take careful measures to wash everything that comes into contact with their heads. This should include, hats, hair accessories, pillowcases, and any helmets that they might have worn.
You can wash them by soaking them in warm water and soak and simply letting them soak. Another great tip is to vacuum the carpet, furniture and car seats, and store any stuffed animals into a plastic bag for two weeks, as this will suffocate any nits or live head lice.