Dealing with lice (don’t panic!)

So your child has lice…

Don’t panic. Lice will not hurt your child, and can affect any family. However, it is itchy and takes time to get rid of, so we’d like to encourage everyone to get a lice comb and check your child regularly to prevent lice. Remind your child to avoid sharing hats, sports equipment and hair accessories, and avoid direct head-to-head contact with people.

For more details, refer to the Head Lice Fact Sheet posted on the TDSB website.

If you are interested in non-chemical solutions to lice, please read the following:

Pour Listerine over the head or put Listerine in a spray bottle and spray the hair, being very careful to saturate the roots. Avoid the eyes at all times. Put on a plastic shower cap for two hours before rinsing well. This will kill the live lice, leaving the nits – or eggs – behind. After two hours, rinse your hair with water.

Alternatively, if your child is disturbed by the smell of Listerine, you can melt coconut oil, let it cool and put that in their hair; again, leave it in for a few hours or overnight to kill the live lice.‎ You’ll need to use some dish soap as well as shampoo to rinse it out.

After the Listerine or oil treatment is finished, saturate the hair with vinegar, ensuring the roots and several inches of hair from the scalp are saturated – this is where nits are most often found. Put on a shower cap for at least an hour before using shampoo and conditioner to clean the hair. Use a metal nit comb to comb out lice and nits. This process will take a very long time!!

Nits are hard to remove, since they stick to the hair shaft. Vinegar will dissolve the adhesive that keeps nits on the hair.

To prevent a reinfestation, it is important to wash the bed linens and clothing of the person who was infected. According to Kids Health, wash these items in hot water and dry them on high heat for 20 minutes. Spray all material furniture (chairs, cushions, couches etc) with Lysol or wrap in plastic bags for a few days OR put items you can’t wash into the freezer for a few days. Extreme cold, heat or lack of oxygen will kill them.

Soak hair accessories and brushes in rubbing alcohol, hot water or Listerine. Some people also reccomend teatree oil or mint spray as a deterrent. Another option is to replace everything with new items. Consider treating other members in the same household to prevent the spread and reinfestation from lice.

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