27 answers

School - Head Lice

Hi Everyone,

I am trying to get some advice for a friend who is at her wits end. Her daughter was sent home from school with Head Lice (there has been a terrible strain in our school this year). The particular class that her daughter is in has had many, many cases. The school then called her older daughter's school to have her looked at and unfortunately she did too. She immediately treated them with Nix (?) and did this treatment twice (on Thursday). I believe she even used a hairdryer while the treatment was on their head (they do not like heat). Today she took another look and could still see what appeared to be live nits (?). She is just beside herself at what to do. It has been an awful lot of work at home with the washing of all the linens, coats, hats, just about everything they come in touch with. Her older son and youngest daughter were not effected.

Does anyone have any advice, remedies, recommendations that I might be able to pass onto her? I know that they do not like heat or extreme cold. I am wondering if there is an herbal remedy that anyone has tried. The school nurse and her physician were nice, but really didn't have any other recommendations.

As always, thank you so much!


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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

You are all such an AMAZING and AWESOME group of Moms! Thanks to each and every one of you that took time to respond. I have forwarded all your messages onto my friend. I believe she is going to do the olive oil treatment and be vigilent about combing the hair. This is such a problem on the rise and effects us all!

On the way home from work, I bought some tea tree oil and plan on mixing with water and spritzing it on my chidren's hair every morning before school. I feel preventative measures are in order!

With Appreciation...S.

Featured Answers

Neem shampoo, and the extract(put directly on the scalp) also can be used. It is a potent herb that works wonders on lice. You can get it at Whole Foods.

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oh, can i relate!! this is a nightmare! The ONLY thing I found to work is on Friday night, cover their head in mayonaise (yup) and wrap with saran wrap for OVERNIGHT treatment. I got this from a friend as I was at my wits end with the over the counter rx that didn't work, constantly boiling everything, etc. etc. THIS WORKS GREAT!! you have to wash their hair many times over the weekend as it is so greasy but by Monday a.m. lice is GONE and their hair so shiny...beautiful thing!

Comb, comb,comb,again! We combed daily for a week or more. They are hard to get rid of. We used mayonnaise [after commercial product] at night and covered with shower cap, it was messy and gross, we finally got rid of them.PATIENCE!!

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I also treated my 3 girls and my own hair with the olive oil and plastic wrap treatment (for a minimum of 2hours, over night if possible). The main issue is to get the nits! They take a week to hatch which is why your friend needs to do at least two treatments a week apart. The treatment kills the lice but not the nits. The only way to get rid of nits is to use a nit comb and comb small (1/4-1/2 inch)sections daily. The comb doesn't necessary get all the nits, so any that are left behind need to be removed by hand. It is a frustrating and time consuming process, especially when you have a full head of hair, but it's the only way to get rid of the nits. I also washed our pillow cases and vacuumed daily especially any place that our heads were (i.e. the couches). Good luck to your friend.

1 mom found this helpful

Neem shampoo, and the extract(put directly on the scalp) also can be used. It is a potent herb that works wonders on lice. You can get it at Whole Foods.

1 mom found this helpful

I had an issuse with head lice and fleas being brought in with a daycare child. The lice were killed on the childrens' heads by using NIX. Use the conditioner type at least twice (I think it was 7 - 10 days apart?). But there were also fleas, eggs or whatever to be killed on the floors and furniture. I treated the house with flea foggers then washed all bedding and dried it on high heat, also washed counters and food prep areas and I never had another incident with either lice or fleas.
Also be sure to treat your cars, carseats, and any places your child may have gone to visit ... like Grammas, cousins, friends, everywhere!

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here's something natural you can try.

Every child, whether in school or daycare is exposed to head lice. You don't want to think about your child having lice, but even the cleanest child will bring them home eventually. They can get them from classmates, in the playground at parties , etc.

Many of the remedies available commercially are poisonous for my child and I feel could compromise their health. I searched for a natural way to eliminate them. Try this method:

Get Rid of the Bugs:

The lice can be killed very quickly by applying mayonnaise to your child's hair. Get a new jar of mayonnaise and scoop a handful or too to completely cover the scalp. Do not forget the area around the ears and temples and the neck. This has to stay in contact with the hair and scalp about 2 hours, so cover the head with a shower cap.

Get any Loose Eggs

Shampoo the mayonnaise completely out of the hair. This may take 2 or 3 shampoos. Now rinse the scalp and hair with vinegar and rinse with hot water. Carefully comb the hair with a regular comb and then with a nit comb. Use a strong light or table lamp to check for any nits left behind.

Check the Dry Hair

Once the hair is dried, carefully check for nits once again, under a bright light. They will be much more easily seen in dry hair than wet hair. Check very small sections of hair at a time, Most closely check the edges of the scalp and around the ears. Nits will be attached to the hair and above the scalp. If you find more than just a very few nits, you will need to repeat the vinegar wash again to loosen the glue that holds he nits on the hair follicle.

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Hi S.,
We used Olive Oil for my nephews and it worked great..
We made sure the head was covered, soaked but not dripping and then wrapped their heads, left it on for 24 hours, pulled the nits and they never returned. Good Luck!

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Smother them in olive oil. Sounds yucky, but it's effective.

There is a movie which would be great for your school called "Head Lice to Dead Lice". It came out in the late 90s.

Here is a site which lets you watch some of the movie:
and has a printable 5-step battle plan

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Tell your friend I feel her pain. My 22 month old daughter and myself battled head lice earlier this year. It is a ton of work! All the washing and drying of clothes, coats, sheets etc. We also used NIX and the key was combing out with those little comes! It is tedious and time consuming but it is the best solution. We bought the metal combs (made my RID) and those seemed to work better than the plastic combs that come with the NIX shampoo. Also, when combing out their hair, have a cup of boiling water nearby and after each comb through, dunk the comb in the boiling water, you will be able to see the eggs and nits falling off the comb. Once you think you have cleared everything out, use tea tree shampoo (and conditioner in needed) - for some reason they don't like that shampoo and it "repels" them.

Hope this is helpful! And goodluck!

1 mom found this helpful

This is such a nasty thing to deal with. One of my (twin) daughters had them, too, and I tried Rid-x to get rid of them. It didn't work completely. But here's what did (recommended by another mother of twins-one of whom has waist length hair, and by our pediatrician): cover the child's hair with olive oil (it doesn't have to be the expensive kind). Wrap the head in plastic wrap and cover with a bathing cap. Leave on over night. In the morning, rinse with vinegar (any type) and comb out with a nit comb. Shampoo with regular shampoo and they should be all gone! The olive oil suffocates them. I guess the vinegar is to help get the olive oil out. It worked like a charm. Tell her good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

hey! i work at an Aromatherapy Apothecary called Lunaroma. we make a very effective lice treatment and another great preventive for lice using essential oils. People rave about its potent work. Im not sure where you are writing from BUT we do have a website www.lunaroma.com and can ship it basically anywhere asap. Let me know if you want more info or just check the site and order from there. (i will be there tomorrow as we are closed sun-mon.)
good luck

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I am unfortunately a veritable expert in head lice. There are a couple of things you need to know. First, that poison does not work as well as the new treatment (not yet FDA approved) called NuvoforHeadlice.com. Highly recommended. You use Cetaphil facial cleanser, which is non-toxic. You put practically an entire bottle all over the child's head, until she is dripping with it, and then you blow dry the hair, which takes forever, but shrink wraps the lice to suffocate them.

Second, if you go to the American Pediatric Association website, you will see that they do NOT recommend keeping children out of school on account of lice. No-nit policies are outdated and discouraged. I am on a current rampage to inform all of the local schools of this. It is not nearly as contagious as people assume, and the best way to keep it from spreading from child to child is to educate the infected child and tell her to keep her head away from others'.

Lastly, lice seem to prefer clean heads. As strange as it sounds, if you are suffering from lice, don't shower or bathe for at least three days. Yes, wash all those bedclothes and coats, and put away plush toys such as stuffed animals, but on your body they are attracted to soap. The one exception is Tea Tree Oil shampoo, which smells very strong and not unpleasant, the only drawback being that it has astringent qualities and makes the head cold in the winter. My kids complained about that. But it helps!

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I feel for your friend. I dealt with lice for almost a year. I tried EVERYTHING. Went and got this stuff from Fairy Tales and it seemed to help, but then it came back a few months later. Comb everyday. Gotta get those nits out. But unfortunately the one thing I think that worked for my kids was a pill that I got from a Brazilian friend of mine. You can't get it in the states. I swear though after I caved in and tried that my kids never had lice again. I was seriously at the point where I would do anything to get rid of these nasty nasty bugs. Mayonaisse is supposed to help get the nits out. Good luck to your friend though.


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I totally feel for your friend. Last year, my 2 daughters had lice and I had tried everything I could do to get rid of them. A friend of mine told me to use "Tea tree oil", which you can find in hannaford or wal-mart. I just put a few drops in their shampoo and conditioner. Wash like normal, just leaving them in for a few minutes. The lice and nits will fall out of their hair. I heard that you can't get rid of the lice with the stuff from the stores and doctors. Repeat this a week later. It work wonders for me! Good luck to your friend and I hope it works!!

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My friend swears by a product called "Fairy Tales" It is a natural way to get rid of lice and also it prevents it. you can buy it online at www.FairyTalesHairCare.com/KidsHair.
Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Fortunately my children have not had lice so I have no advise on how to get rid of it - however I have been using a product for several months that repeals lice (or so it claims). It is an all natural, organic product - I use it on my kids on school days & other days as needed. Here is the link - I believe they have a product to help get rid of lice (also a natural product) - www.fairytaleshaircare.com . I am not sure if it works at preventing lice, but so far we have received a few notices regarding lice in the class and have not had a case at home.

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Comb, comb,comb,again! We combed daily for a week or more. They are hard to get rid of. We used mayonnaise [after commercial product] at night and covered with shower cap, it was messy and gross, we finally got rid of them.PATIENCE!!

A couple of months ago we dealt with the same issue, and were literally days away from just cutting my daughters hair short. She had so much hair it would take me 3 hours just to comb through her hair in small sections (which we did 3 times a week for a month). We treated her hair 3 times with the Nix and she still had it no matter what we did. At least the school nurse was nice in your friends case, ours was extremely condescending the teacher as well. Treating us like we weren't doing everything we could at home. Anyway, finally after a month and half of it we took her back to the doctor and he gave us the prescription strength medication and that finally did it. It's very strong and unlike the Nix there is no washing it out, it goes on like gel and stays in her hair.

Hi S.,

I hate to say it but head lice are all too common in grade school. It's not because the kids are "dirty" but mostly lice are passed on to many others because kids share combs, hats and are in close contact with each other for extended periods of time.
If your friend hasn't rid her kids and house of lice and nits with a few treatments from the over the counter medication she bought, she will need to call the doctor for a prescription medication. If she follows the directions carefully, she WILL prevail.
Also tell her to keep checking her kids scalps regularly. It's a problem that will happen again and again. The school nurse will also be more vigilant about checking heads.

This is what the school nurse where I work told me. I haven't had to use it thankfully. The lice are starting to become impervious to the chemicals so the only thing to do is suffocate them, mayonaise or peanut butter on the head. wrap in plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes. Wash out. Repeat until they are all gone. Good luck!


We just recently had a problem with lice in my sons Kinder class. Here's what I learned from those in the trenches. The absolute best method -- better even than the prescription pesticide -- is physical removal. This means really, really vigilant combing. Put on lots of conditioner, get one of the very fine metal combs (I think RID makes them) & comb out the hair a couple of times a day. In addition, a friend of mine swears by the smother - by- olive oli method: covering all the hair with olive oil, wrapping it in plastic, leave it on for 24 hours, then comb, comb, comb. If your friend is in the area, she might want to check out Nitwits in Cambridge -- they "pick your nits for you". (I know, who knew such a place existed?) One of the parents from my class brought her child to one visit & the lice were gone!

There is some conflicting info re: treatment of bedding, etc. I've heard that in general lice don't leave hair to infest non-animate objects. I've also heard: bag it for two weeks, put it through the wash, put pillow in a hot dryer...don't know what is the most accurate, but I would probably err on the side of caution. But you or your friend might want to check out the nitwits web site www.liceinfo.net. Hope this is helpful.

Hi - I see you have had lots of responses, but had to add my two cents worth, since we just went through this. We found that the lice were resitant to the drugstore medications - and after lots of research, we've learned this is more and more of a problem everywhere. After talking with families who've dealt with this many times and reading tons of articles, we agree with the folks who have posted that physical removal is the only effective method.

We borrowed a great lice comb from a friend - silly name, but it's really effective - the Licemeister. You can find it through google. It's got much finer teeth than any of the four lice combs we got at the drug store. It really did a great job of getting nits out..and even a few live lice, which are really hard to get.

We also had to adjust our attitudes and just see this as a time management problem. We made the time to comb twice a day for a week, and then, once we saw no more nits, once a day for another week. We also washed pillow cases and pajama tops daily until we saw no more nits and washed all hats and brushes and combs daily too.

It wasn't fun, but - hey - no one was in pain, no one was sick...and we dealt with it.

Good luck!

tell her to use listerine(liek the nasty stuff you garle with) pour it all over and cover with wrap for two hours. then comb out the hair. There is also a professional person out of southboro(i think) that charges about 125.00 and hour to hand remove them one by one. apparantly it takes hours and cash! good luck

I also used Nix at least twice, but found the olive oil method worked best. Good luck!

I had head lice in my house this summer. We did RID and NIX and nothing got rid of the little buggers, we finally had to go to the doctors and get the prescription strength stuff. which finally did the trick to get rid of them but it was a very long process. we also had to cute my hair from very long to very short which kind of made me annoyed.

My friend used cetaphil. you put it on and then blow dry the hair. Put a shower cap on over night and then wash out in the morning. you do still need to nit pick though....

When my son was younger his pediatrician told me that if he ever got head lice to call his office first and do not try the over the counter stuff especially because some strains are harder to get rid of then others. He would prescribe something to get rid of them. Hope this helps

oh, can i relate!! this is a nightmare! The ONLY thing I found to work is on Friday night, cover their head in mayonaise (yup) and wrap with saran wrap for OVERNIGHT treatment. I got this from a friend as I was at my wits end with the over the counter rx that didn't work, constantly boiling everything, etc. etc. THIS WORKS GREAT!! you have to wash their hair many times over the weekend as it is so greasy but by Monday a.m. lice is GONE and their hair so shiny...beautiful thing!

Hi S.,
I am not looking forward to the call from the school that my child has lice. When we went to the hair dressers the other day she told me that lice hate tea tree oil. If you buy hair products with tea tree oil in them then lice are more likely to not go on that childs head. We get our stuff from melaleuca but I know that at some kid clip shops they sell products for that reason. Good Luck to your friend.

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