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Treating head lice without chemicals


kfeusse
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I have heard everything from using oil... Any oil on hair over night, to using a blow dryer to dry the lice.  I have heard wash all sheets and bedding, to don't bother since lice need to live on a scalp to survive.  I have heard treat everyday for weeks to only every couple days. I have even heard there is some sort of electric comb you can buy to kill the nits.

What has worked for you?

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Honestly, we went through this like four times one school year.  The absolute best way was the prescription shampoo and thorough combing every day.  The second best way was going to the lice lady, who just did really, really thorough combing and removal, but she was really rather pricey.  Follow up thorough combing was imperative for both methods.  Technically you can get rid of them with just combing.  But I always missed some, despite my best efforts.  

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The over the counter shampoo absolutely did nothing for us...we had our microscope out and even after shampooing, we found live ones under the scope. Yuck!  I don't recommend those shampoos... We then freaked and tried home remedies. We found success with tea tree oil mixed into vegetable oil (wrap your hair in saran wrap).  We had heard the bugs don't like peppermint oil, so we mixed a few drops of that in with shampoo to get the oil out...We also bought one of those bug zapping combs, but never found anything with it when using it (yes, we were still using the microscope to check, we were very meticulous in looking). We wanted to be extra sure, so that was why we bought this. We kept stuffed animals and pillows in bags for 2 weeks and laundered all the bedding.  No one else found bugs on them in the house after all this.  Hope this helps!

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After shower, rinse with vinegar (leaving it in) and comb with a comb like this: https://www.amazon.com/Nit-Free-Terminator-Lice-Comb/dp/B000HIBPV8/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1537445332&sr=8-3&keywords=steel%2Bcomb%2Bfor%2Blice&th=1 Do this every night until you see a difference in the numbers, then every other night, then every third night--you get the idea. Was the only thing that worked when my dd was little and ended up with a horrible case. Ds had had a case (we were overseas and it was rampant at times), and the treatment I used on him actually started burning his skin. He started screaming, and when I rinsed it, the chemical had eaten through his skin. ? It was horrible, and I determined I would never use that again. Her skin was even more sensitive, so I didn't dare use it on her. It wasn't as effective as the vinegar and comb, either. Those little plastic combs in the kits don't do anything compared to a steel comb. A hairdresser told me the protocol. It was time-consuming (dd had very thick red hair, so I didn't realize she had them until they were well entrenched). But it was effective.

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36 minutes ago, Jaybee said:

After shower, rinse with vinegar (leaving it in) and comb with a comb like this: https://www.amazon.com/Nit-Free-Terminator-Lice-Comb/dp/B000HIBPV8/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1537445332&sr=8-3&keywords=steel%2Bcomb%2Bfor%2Blice&th=1 Do this every night until you see a difference in the numbers, then every other night, then every third night--you get the idea. Was the only thing that worked when my dd was little and ended up with a horrible case. Ds had had a case (we were overseas and it was rampant at times), and the treatment I used on him actually started burning his skin. He started screaming, and when I rinsed it, the chemical had eaten through his skin. ? It was horrible, and I determined I would never use that again. Her skin was even more sensitive, so I didn't dare use it on her. It wasn't as effective as the vinegar and comb, either. Those little plastic combs in the kits don't do anything compared to a steel comb. A hairdresser told me the protocol. It was time-consuming (dd had very thick red hair, so I didn't realize she had them until they were well entrenched). But it was effective.

do you rinse the vinegar out at some point....or just leave it in?  Did you wash sheets etc everyday?  or what did you do in that department?  

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The Cetaphil treatment is supposed to work well.  Key is to get off the excess though (and repeat it in a few weeks.)

http://www.seattlechildrens.org/medical-conditions/symptom-index/lice-head/

 

  1. Extra Care Advice - Cetaphil Cleanser for Nix Treatment Failures:
    • Go to your drugstore and buy Cetaphil cleanser in the soap department. No prescription is needed. It works by coating the lice and suffocating them.
    • Apply the Cetaphil cleanser throughout the scalp to dry hair.
    • After all the hair is wet, wait 2 minutes for Cetaphil to soak in.
    • Comb out as much excess cleanser as possible.
    • Blow dry your child's hair. It has to be thoroughly dry down to the scalp to suffocate the lice. Expect this to take 3 times longer than normal drying.
    • The dried Cetaphil will smother the lice. Leave it on your child's hair for at least 8 hours.
    • In the morning, wash off the Cetaphil with a regular shampoo.
    • To cure your child of lice, repeat this process twice in 1 and 2 weeks.
    • The cure rate can be 97%.
    • Detailed instructions can be found online: www.nuvoforheadlice.com

 

Honestly, with our last lice infestation, I went to a salon/lice experts.  They combed the kids, did oil on their hair, and then this super duper hair dryer.  Had a guarantee, too.  I've spent so much on lice treatments that didn't work...and so much time....that in the end, this was cheaper.  

Edited by umsami
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It's been a few years, but this blog (I think this was the one) was very helpful to us.

http://thenicelicelady.blogspot.com/2010/05/dont-believe-nix-package-hair-dryer-is.html

In our case, daughter was at camp when lice found, and they shampooed her. I didn't want to use chemicals when she got home, and found this website.  IIRC, we used (our own) hair dryer every other day or so, and combed as well.  She also talks elsewhere in the blog about not having to be super fanatical about extended laundering and vacuuming. 

Here's the journal article about the nifty lice dryer. If I could afford it, I'd use this service and make it someone else's problem. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2083419/

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Use this silicone goop https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DMCFG34/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 and this comb https://www.amazon.com/Nit-Free-Terminator-Professional-Stainless/dp/B000HIBPV8?crid=1ARTEKLY5O2V8&keywords=assy%2B2000%2Bcomb&qid=1537459407&sprefix=assy%2B2000%2Caps%2C190&sr=8-3&ref=sr_1_3&th=1

 

Trust me.  Israelis know lice treatment - remember, we gave the Egyptians lice as one of the plagues. ? You have to really thorough in combing but it works.

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What has worked for us:

1. Go ahead and use the pelicucide shampoo as instructed.

2. Any uninfected people should keep product in their hair. Gel, hairspray, leave in conditioner, hair oil, whatever. Clean, dry hair is the easiest infected.

3. Any infected people after the shampoo, get the following: hair oil and twice daily, thorough nit-combing. Keep up until after the second shampooing and until it's been a couple of weeks until any sign of the buggers on anyone in the home.

4. When we had a situation where DD and a friend at school were apparently passing them back and forth, sending her to school with her hair oiled and covered with a scarf helped break the cycle.

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8 hours ago, kfeusse said:

do you rinse the vinegar out at some point....or just leave it in?  Did you wash sheets etc everyday?  or what did you do in that department?  

I don't remember, but I don't think we bothered. The smell fades. We didn't wash them every day. I had four young kids, and just didn't have time! I did wash them often.

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When my daughter brought them home from school last year (interestingly, the last day before we pulled her to homeschool, but that wasn't the reason), using the steel nit comb with conditioner in her hair and combing three times the first day, then a couple times a day for a couple days, then every morning for a week worked. We didn't actually find anything after day two, but I wanted to be sure. We covered pillows and top of the bed with a easy to wash light weight blanket we changed daily. She has super straight hair, so that helped. My hair is a bit wavy and longer. I combed with conditioner, then tossed and drenched my head in vinegar, then kept combing compulsively for days. The last live ones I found were after the vinegar, and those seemed a little under the weather. We combed the boys at least once a day during that time, but they were pretty much clean. I think we must have caught it pretty early on.

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This is what we did.  Conditioner and metal nit comb.   Combing schedule.  Once you get rid of adult lice, you are not contagious but need to follow up to keep getting nits and new hatchlings before they mature   

http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/theliceprogram/

Most times when they reoccur it's because people didn't follow up long enough.  Especially pay attention to VIP days on the schedule.  My kids don't have thick hair so we didn't follow through on every day listed but did hit the VIP days and were very focused the first week.    We had it twice and got rid of it both times.  I change pillow cases and bag stuffies for the first week but otherwise don't go overboard cleaning.  Waste of time - they really don't live long off the head and if you're actively combing that week they aren't going to stay on the head.  

ETA - I don't think anything is 100% full proof in killing adult lice.  We've seen them swimming through rid and other stuff.  Maybe prescription stuff is better.  Consistent use of conditioner slowed them down and over several combing/days helped the nits slide easily off the shaft.  I really think the key is to follow up with the combing.  Even if you're seeing nothing at all, hit the critical days on the schedule after the first week.   The first few  combings took way longer than subsequent ones.  

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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Slather mayonnaise on hair and put a plastic show cap over it for a few hours.  They can do school work or play games etc...  Get a spray bottle of white vinegar and spray and comb through hair every day for the next week. You will need the special lice comb to do this.

My DD had long dark hair and this worked great!  I washed all her bedding and just put any throw pillows, stuffed animals in the corner for a few days and they were not allowed to play with overstuffed things.  

This method worked! MY daughters hair never looked so silky and shiny...

 

ETA:  It must be real mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip) and this method is what my hair stylist told me to do.

Edited by 1GirlTwinBoys
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I don't mean to confuse the issue, but just know what works for some may not always work for others.  I recall now that after the OTC shampoo didn't work, we did try the Cetaphil...and with the help of our homeschool microscope...found it hadn't worked for us.  That was when we went with the tea tree oil.  And we did rinse with vinegar, I had forgotten that.  About 1-2 tsp. in a few cups of water, put it on, work in well and rinse.  We also used a towel on pillowcases at night so we could exchange with a fresh one without having to do too much laundry.  

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That Terminator zapper comb was what really worked for us.  We brought lice to my parents' house one Christmas (3 of my girls had them), and my brother and his family were also there with their 2 girls, so we were *so* worried about spreading them.  But we used the over-the-counter shampoo, used the Terminator, and wrapped their heads in coconut oil and saran wrap (and shower caps) each night.  The lice were completely gone in a few days, they never spread to their cousins, and they never came back again either.

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