Head lice can turn a frantic holiday season into a downright horrible one. The age-old problem of head lice doesn’t take a break to celebrate the holidays; as a matter of fact, it is quite the opposite. Group photos, shared homes and bedding, and the reintroduction of winter hats and scarves provides the perfect setting for a lice infestation.
When a family member has head lice, panic sets in and there is a mountain of misinformation to sift through. Below are some myths, misconceptions, and tips to help families survive this stressful time:
Myths & Facts
Myth: “Call off the holidays! My son’s cousin has head lice and there is no way we will be going to visit them.”
Fact: Once a treatment program has begun, there is no reason to forego holiday visits with friends and family. Just take some common-sense precautions and ensure there is no head-to-head contact with the infested person. Remember, a little tea tree oil can go a long way in preventing the spread of lice.
Myth: “Bag up all the presents and toys! Burn the stockings!”
Fact: Lice can only live for 24 hours after leaving the scalp. Lice do not jump or fly; they crawl from hair shaft to hair shaft.
Myth: “Cousin John never showers. He must have given me lice!”
Fact: When hair is clean, it does not stick to the scalp and therefore makes it is easier for lice to crawl from one person’s head to another. So, you are actually more likely to contract lice from clean hair. It was probably Cindy, who is always taking selfies with people and posting them on Instagram.
Myth: “I put antlers on the family dog and then on my own head! Sure, it was hilarious, but I got lice!”
Fact: It was hilarious! But head lice can only be transmitted from hair-to-hair contact with humans. The family pet cannot contract head lice because lice feed only on human blood. Like Dracula.
What to Do?
So, what do you do if you find lice over the holidays? First, don’t panic! It is not as bad as you think. Hair Fairies offers three main solutions: DIY, in-salon professional treatment, or a combination of both.
Every single day, we speak to people who ran out and bought the most expensive lice shampoo they could find in an effort to get rid of lice as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, we have to give them the bad news that they just wasted their money because lice have become almost totally resistant to insecticide shampoos.
The most effective DIY method for getting rid of lice isn’t shampoos, or even a specific product, but rather a methodology: comb through the hair with a real lice comb, pick out the nits, treat the scalp with a topical solution (ideally, all-natural and tea-tree based), repeat.
- Comb: Comb through the hair with a real lice comb until lice no longer appear on the comb.
- Pick: Pick out the nits that weren’t removed with the comb. Many times, these are anchored close to the base of the hair, near the scalp.
- Treat: Treat the scalp with a topical solution (ideally all-natural and tea-tree based).
- Repeat: While it may seem like all lice are gone after a single round of treatment, remember that a female louse will lay up to 3-5 eggs per day. It takes 7-10 days for the eggs to hatch and then another 7-10 days for the louse to mature and lay her own eggs. This means you may have to do multiple rounds of treatment (depending on the severity).
If picking out lice, hanging Christmas lights, and finishing your shopping all sounds like a little too much to juggle, you can always bring the whole family down to Hair Fairies, where we use our tried-and-true nit-picking methodology to get rid of lice – guaranteed. Check it off your list and move on!
Get the best of both worlds. Come on in to a Hair Fairies salon for a screening, and we will show you everything you need to know about lice treatment. Pick up some supplies to take home and start picking!
You Are Not Alone on the Lice List
If you find yourself searching for the perfect way to rid your family of head lice while you search for the perfect gifts, just remember that you are not alone. More than four million U.S. kids contract head lice each year!
Whatever treatment you use will require taking some time to manually looking for nits and bugs. Depending on the length of hair, this can take from a few minutes to a few hours.
So, when lice come to visit, relax! Take it all in stride and who knows, you may learn something new about your child during those hours of combing and picking.