How to Treat Lice Without Chemicals
This post was created in collaboration with LiceGuard. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep Momma Society going!
It’s the moment you’ve been dreading - lice! Whether it came from daycare or school or a sleepover, you’re not alone. More than 12 million - yup, MILLION - kids will contract lice each year but don’t freak out too much, it isn’t as scary as you might think. Traditional methods of treatment include cutting off hair and using strong chemicals, but you’ll be relieved to know that there are safer (and less permanent) alternatives for treating lice and preventing reinfestation.
How do I know it’s lice?
There are a few tell-tale signs that you’re dealing with lice and not dandruff or cradle cap. Look for red bumps on the scalp or around the hairline. You’ll also notice an increase in scratching or complaints of itchiness, which is caused by a reaction to the saliva in the lice bite.
If you’re checking for lice at home, shine a bright light on to your child’s scalp and check for brown, yellow or tan eggs attached to individual hairs and close to the scalp; these are the lice eggs, also known as nits. The look like dandruff expect you can’t shake them off. Adult lice are about the size of a sesame seed and are grayish-white or tan in color. If the eggs have hatched, you’ll be able to see the lice crawling around. It takes 1-2 weeks for lice eggs to hatch, so you’re more likely to see eggs than critters, but each case will vary from child to child.
My baby has lice - now what?
Step one - don’t panic! Lice can seem scary, after all it’s bugs in your hair! Even though lice are contagious, there’s no need to panic. Lice cannot jump from head to head, nor can they be transferred from pets. Contracting lice also has nothing to do with personal hygiene, so don’t kick yourself for skipping that bath last week.
Since lice are typically transferred from direct contact, once you’ve confirmed your infestation, you’ll need to avoid hugging or other close contact. This can be especially tricky with a snuggly toddler, but it’s the best way to curb the spread.
Next you’ll need to wash anything that your little one has worn or slept on in very hot water - around 130 degrees - to ensure that any remaining critters are taken care of. Don’t worry about disinfecting countertops or other hard surfaces in your house since it’s highly unlikely that the lice have spread beyond fabric.
Make sure you check yourself and other family members for lice, especially if there’s any sort of co-sleeping or bedsharing! Once you’ve identified who has lice and who does not, you’ll need to apply some sort of treatment directly to the hair - but which one is best for your family?
Non-Toxic Lice Treatment
An infestation is already frustrating enough, not to mention the days-long battle to remove the lice. Many over the counter lice treatments contain harsh chemicals that can be toxic for kids - yikes, that’s worse than the lice! On a search for safer treatment methods, many parents have turned to at-home remedies that include slathering hair in mayonnaise, coconut oil, or tea tree oil, but none of these solutions kill the eggs, and only some repel lice - plus they can be a huge mess!
Dimethicone shampoos and enzyme lice treatments (usually in shampoo form) are common, non-toxic methods to remove or loosen eggs from hair as well as kill live lice. However, most shampoos need to be used over a period of days and some can cause skin irritation as well. So what’s a momma to do?
It may sound crazy, but LiceGuard has created an electric comb that zaps lice and their eggs, but is 100% safe for children and feels just like combing their hair! The RobiComb uses MicroCharge technology to kill the lice on contact and eliminates the need for chemicals, special shampoos, or other extensive treatments and is even effective on treatment-resistant super lice! You can use the RobiComb on the entire family without a fear of further contamination.
Always consult with your pediatrician before applying lice treatments, especially if your child is younger than six months. If your baby is two months or younger, it is unsafe to apply any sort of topical treatment and you’ll need to remove the nits and lice by hand.
You’ve combed the hair (maybe even cut some off), doused the house in lysol and thrown every pillowcase you can find in the wash, but you’re still nervous about the lice making a comeback. Luckily, LiceGuard has an answer for that, too! They’ve developed a laundry detergent additive to help fight head lice outbreaks called Launder Lice. Lice can survive 12-24 hours out away from a human scalp, so washing anything an infected head has touched is key for keeping the bugs away.
Launder Lice is a concentrated formulation that works best in the rinsing cycle of your wash. It can be used to clean clothing, bedding, hats, toys and more and contains essential oils that leave a natural scent - not a chemical one! It’s safe and gentle and can be added to daily laundry for prevention and removal of lice.
If an infestation persists or doesn’t seem to be improving, contact your pediatrician to see what additional steps you can take for prevention and care. Lice can seem scary, but they don’t have to be. You got this, momma!