09 Oct The Nanny Line Tells You How to Say Goodbye to Lice
Did summer camp or back-to-school bring the scourge of lice to your household? Want to know how to say goodbye to lice for good? The Nanny Line, Spain’s premiere nanny agency, has some expert advice for how to say Adios Piojos! Lice are very common in schools, daycares (guarderías), and summer camps all over Spain from Barcelona, to Madrid, and even Ibiza.
In the battle to say goodbye to lice, you will need to arm yourself with:
- A special, fine-toothed lice comb (liendrera) available at most pharmacies and online.
- Cetaphil (available online or at pharmacies) facial cleanser is recommended by several websites and lice experts to put on the hair before combing to help the lice comb pass more easily through the hair strands (your child won’t scream quite so loud at you). It is thinner than conditioner so won’t coat or protect the lice like hair conditioner can.
- You may want to enlist the help of professional experts who, for a price, will mechanically remove all the lice from your child’s hair (they don’t use any chemicals). Some of these businesses in Spain (for example Nits and Kids in Barcelona and Madrid) even offer a special bono or package for monthly lice combings if you sign up at the beginning of the school year.
Defensive maneuvers include:
- Never sharing hair brushes, hats, or other hair accessories. Teach your children this important lesson.
- Helping out fellow parents and classmates by notifying your school’s nurse or camp’s administration as soon as you find lice, no matter how irrationally embarrassed you might feel.
- Braiding longer hair or keeping it up in a ponytail or bun to make it harder for the lice to catch a ride. We suggest doing this every 2-3 days during peak lice seasons such as September/October and April-June.
Your enemy (Lice) are smarter than you.
- Over time they have evolved resistance to your weapons (the commonly-used treatments and chemicals) used to kill them. This means that many of the products sold at pharmacies or even with prescriptions from doctors will not work. You still need to comb, even if you use a treatment or shampoo.
- Lice lay their eggs close to your scalp where it is warmer and moister. The eggs dry out if they are farther out on the hair shaft. This is why regular combing is your key to victory over lice.
- They use a sticky glue that water won’t dissolve, to fix their eggs to the hair shaft. This is another reason why you need the special lice comb to get rid of the eggs.
- They can’t fly, but they can easily jump from hair to hair, head to head, or brush to someone else’s scalp if you share hair brushes.
- Look for lice when your child’s hair is wet, after a bath or shower (it is harder for lice to move over wet hair).
- Use a bright light and a magnifying glass to better see lice.
- Comb and inspect their favorite areas of the head: The nape of the neck and behind the ears, along the scalp line.
- Wipe off the comb with clear sticky tape or a white paper towel to try to better see any small, off-white eggs or nits (baby lice, you can look at these pictures so you know what to look for)
- Pay more attention to certain members of your family: Girls are more likely to get lice than boys (more head to head contact and they have longer hair).
- Experts recommend combing every 2 to 3 days until no more eggs or nits are observed. Watch this helpful video to see the best combing technique.
- Watching the screen, playing video games, or sweet treats and rewards may be necessary to convince your kids to sit still and let you pull their hair for up to 10-20 minutes (the length of time the experts say you spend to thoroughly comb out all lice, nits, and eggs)
- Disinfect all combs, hairbrushes, hair elastics, and headbands in hot water or alcohol.
If You Choose to use a Chemical Lice Treatment:
- Look for products containing the following ingredients: Permethrin, Pyrethrin, Lindane or Ivermectin (prescription only).
- Don’t use conditioner before using the lice treatment because it can coat the hair strand and protect the lice
- Ideally,wait 2 to 3 days after the treatment until washing the hair again.
- Repeat the treatment 7 to 10 days after the initial treatment to kill any newly-hatched lice.
- Don’t use any lice-killing medications or treatments with chemicals in children under the age of 2.
- You still need to use a lice comb to remove any new eggs.
Before you race off to the laundromat as a way to say goodbye to lice:
Lice experts can’t agree whether or not it is necessary to launder all clothing, pillows, dolls, stuffed animals (basically your entire house) to kill eggs and nits. If it makes you feel better, you can wash in hot water and then dry in the clothes dryer the following items to at least 53.5 Celsius for a minimum of 5 minutes:
- Pillows, sheets, stuffed animals, hats and other clothing or washable items that your infected child might have come in contact with in the prior 2 days (how long lice can survive off of your head).
- You can put stuffed animals, dolls with long hair, or other non-washable items in sealed plastic garbage bags for 2 weeks to try to kill any lice or eggs.
- Vacuum rugs, sofas, upholstery, other furniture, and floors to remove hairs that may have active lice eggs still attached.
Keep Calm and Remember:
- Getting lice has nothing to do with the cleanliness of your hair, clothing or house
- Lice only like humans- you can’t get them from or give them to your pet
- Head lice don’t transmit any infectious diseases
- Itching can last for 7 to 10 days after successful treatment so don’t assume you’ve lost the war if your child is still itching like a madman
- What you have heard about lice may not be correct: Check out this National Health Service-endorsed website listing common mistaken advice about lice.
- You are not alone. Most likely everyone has had lice at least once in their life!
- Lice driving you insane? Our VIP nannies can help reduce the stress of a family lice infestation or you can try out some of our stress-relieving self-care suggestions.
How did your family say goodbye to lice for good? Share in the Comments below, on Facebook, or Instagram. If you would like to read our Nanny News weekly, like us on Facebook to find the link to our latest post each week. The Nanny Line can find your family pre-screened, English-speaking nannies and babysitters in Barcelona, Madrid, and Ibiza. We even offer holiday nannies, tutor nannies and babysitters available on short-notice. Book your VIP nanny online on our website.